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* Wilde O. Plays. M., 1961.
The Persons of the Play
The Earl of Caversham [':1 v 'kvm]
Viscount Goring ['vakant ':r]
Sir Robert Chiltern ['rbt 'tltn]
Vicomte de Nanjac [v'kt d 'nnk]
Mr. Montford ['mntfd]
Lady Markby ['m:kb]
The Countess of Basildon ['kants v 'bеzldn]
Mrs. Marchmont ['m:tmnt]
Miss Mabel Chiltern [mebl]
Mrs.Cheveley, Laura ['tI:vl l:r]
Other Proper Names
p. 173 Boucher [bu:'e]
Louis Seize ['lu(:) 'si:z]
p. 174 Lawrence ['lrns]
p 175 Tanagra ['tnn]
p. 178 Vandyck [,vn 'dak]
p. 181 Corot [k:'r]
Baron Arnheim ['brn ':nham]
p. 188 the Argentine Canal [':dntan k'nl]
p. 189 the Panama Canal ['рnm:]
the Suez Canal [su:z] or [sz]
p.212 Mr.Trafford ['trfd]
p.222 Bath [b:]
p.225 St. James's Street [snt 'demzz]
p.232 Sphinx [sfks]
Inverness cape [,nvnes 'kep]
Notes on the titles of nobility used in the play
vicomte – a similar title used in France.
* Pay attention to the following:
Titles of nobility immediately preceeding a name are capitalized.
e.g. Lord Caversham, Sir Robert Chiltern, Baron Arnheim, etc.
I. Recall the sentences in which the following proper names are used in the text:
the Row (p. 175), the Ladies' Gallery (p. 194) "the old Greek" and Penelope (p. 181). Say what they mean.
II. Each of the characters is associated with an artist or a work of art. There are also references to exquisite pieces of furniture or tapestry, the entire house, with its great chandeliers and magnificent staircases.
Answer the questions. Use the functional phrases given below.
I think/suppose/believe...; speaking about/of...; generally speaking...; it may appear strange, surprising etc...; it's common knowledge that...; it's well-known that...; it's common for everyone...; I can't help thinking...; as you all know...; it's obvious for me...; as far as I am concerned...; I'm absolutely sure that...; well as I see it...; the surprising fact is that...; my experience is that...; in my experience...; I remember quite clearly that...; as you imagine...; what impressed me most is...; difficult to say, but...
III. Write out from Act I the sentences with the following phrases.
С нетерпением ожидать (р. 177); заняться политикой (р. 178); очень хотеть что-то сделать (р. 181); объяснить что-то (р. 179); в пользу, в поддержку (р. 193); называть вещи своими именами (р. 189); быть замешанным (р. 189); быть настроенным (р. 190); не говоря о (р. 190); говорить о политике, о морали (pp. 184, 193).
IV. Use the original phrases from Act I for the following.
To be thankful; to explain; to join the conversation; to refuse to do; to support by speaking; to make no difference; to be involved in; to go to bed late at night; let alone; to feel like doing something; boring; to enjoy doing; undertaking.
V. Translate into Russian.
1. We had promised him that we wouldn't invite any people in and that wouldn't try to talk art to him.
2. I know he looked forward to our little chats.
5. I am not in favour of this modem mania for turning bad people into good people at a moment's notice.
6. I'm not in the mood for serious music.
7. I don't mind your talking morality a bit. Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike. You dislike me.
10. In the twentieth century man is protected from disease as no man before has been, and he can look forward to living a longer life than his grandfather did.
VI. Search Act I for 6 phrases with the verb make and 7 phrases with the verb do.
VII. Answer the questions. Use the above functional phrases (Ref.Ex. II).
VIII. Discuss the paradoxes.
a) Read the definitions of a paradox and a pun which are so characteristic of O. Wilde's plays, as "he was a man who was fascinated by paradox and found it to be his most efficient means of communication".
Paradox is a statement that seems to say something opposite to common sense or truth, but which may contain a truth.
e. g. More haste, less speed.
Pun (a play on words) is a humorous use of words which sound the same or of two meanings of the same word.
e. g. The name of the play "The Importance of Being Earnest" is a pun itself where Ernest is a name and earnest is an adjective "serious".
b) Prove that the following statements are paradoxes.
c) Analyse the above examples from the point of view of the linguistic basis of a paradox.
IX. Which stylistic devices are used in Act I? (repetition, inversion,comparison, metaphor, irony). Find examples and say what effect is achieved.
X. Give synonyms to or paraphrase the given words and phrases used in the play. Explain their difference.
To alter; to decline; to condemn; astounding; entirely; to drift apart; this moment; to flatter; tedious; speculation; to have a great desire for food; to adore; hazard; to show the influence of too many schools.
XI. Translate into Russian the passage on pp. 192-193 in writing.
Mrs. Cheveley: "My dear Sir Robert, what then? ... in favour of this scheme".
XII. "An Ideal Husband" is a comedy of manners, so it is no wonder it is rich in adjectives which describe people, actions, manners, etc. Owing to the plot the play is full of "negative" adjectives.
Pick out 10 such words and say who or what is described.
XIII. Express your opinion.
1. Whose point of view do you share:
Sir Robert: "I am not changed. But circumstances alter things".
Lady Chiltern: "Circumstances should never alter principles!" (p. 200).
2. Do you agree that "Sooner or later we have all to pay for what we do?" (Mrs. Cheveley. p. 193).
XIV. Choose a scene (a dialogue) and act it out. Account for your choice (pair and individual work). Use the functional phrases(Ref. Ex. II).
XV. What scene may be considered as the climax of Act I?Describe it. Use the functional phrases (Ref. Ex. II).
XVI. Discuss any scene of Act I. Speak about motives of behaviour,reactions, consequences, etc. Use the functional phrases (ref.Ex. II) as well as the list of starters below (pair work).
How do you feel about...; What do you think about...; I wonder why, when, how, etc...; You know what I think about...; What's your opinion about...; What makes you say that...; Do you really mean to say that...; Well, as I see it...; Wouldn't you say that...; There is a point in what you say; Something else I'd like to know is this...; There is just one more point I'd like to make...; In order to give a fairly clear picture...; I couldn't have put it better myself...; That's exactly what I think...; I can't agree more...; I don't guite see the point...; I am not sure I guite agree...; I don't guite see what you mean...; All things considered I must say...; On the one hand..., on the other hand...; Although it's true to say that...; I suppose that's true in a way, but...; Yes, but isn't it also true to say that...; Well, how shall I put it? Well, actually...; I'm not sure what you mean by...; What's your experience?
XVII. Exchange your impressions of Act I. Use some of the above phrases.
XVIII. Give a brief summary of Act I.
I. a) Find English equivalents of the following phrases:
отвлекать внимание от (р. 205); поддаться соблазну (р. 208); судить о ком-то по чему-либо (р. 208); быть помолвленным с (р. 210); стоит что-то делать (р. 212); иметь влияние на кого-либо (р. 212); сделать предложение (р. 218); устаревший (р. 219); очень громко (р. 219); быть высокого мнения о (р. 219); одобрять что-либо (р. 223); применять что-либо в отношении кого-либо/чего-либо (р. 227); быть обязанным кому-то чем-то (р. 228); совершить ошибку (р. 230).
b) Recall the sentences in which the phrases are used in Act II.
II. Translate into English.
1. Вы не знаете, что может ожидать вас, если вы не покинете этот дом тотчас же. 2. Вы серьезно считаете, что женщин, совершивших ошибку, никогда нельзя простить? 3. Всегда стоит задать вопрос, но не всегда стоит отвечать на него. 4. Джек должен был отвлечь полицейского, пока я отпирал дверь. 5. Да, все это очень хорошо, но я боюсь, что тетя Августа не одобрит твое присутствие здесь. 6. Пусть ваш муж скажет, чем он обязан своему положению в обществе. 7. Вчера вечером Томми сделал мне предложение в музыкальной комнате. 8. Роберт высокого мнения о мистере Треффорде. Он считает, что его ждет блестящее будущее. 9. Она считает, что раскаяние нынче не в моде. 10. Говорят, она имеет на него влияние. 11. Я помолвлена с мистером Уордингом, мама. 12. Нельзя судить о характере человека по форме его подбородка или по цвету глаз.
III. Paraphrase using the original words and phrases from Act II.
in a very loud voice; to make a mistake; to have an influence on; to fall to temptation; to tell the whole truth; out of fashion; to like smth.
IV. What new touches does Act II add to the portraits of the four main characters?
V. a) Read the following piece of "A Literary Exploration of O. Wilde" by Christopher S. Nassaar.
Characters and their Masks
1. When Sir Robert Chiltern first appears, he is described as being nervous and self-conscious. He has every right to be nervous,for his wife sees him as inhumanly flawless, and consequently he has to wear a permanent mask or lose her love. "Oh! What a mask you have been wearing all these years! A horrible painted mask".(Lady Chiltern).
b) Answer the questions.
VI. Answer the questions. Use the functional phrases. (Ref. Act I, Ex. II and XVI)
VII. Comment on the following paradoxes.
1. "Life is never fair. And perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not. (Lord Goring, p. 206). 2. "...when the gods wish to punish us they answer our prayers". (Sir Robert Chiltern, p. 209). 3. Sir Robert Chiltern: "I have paid conscience money many times..." Lord Goring: "In public charities? Dear me! What a lot of harm you must have done, Robert! (p. 209)
VIII. Read another piece of "A Literary Exploration of O. Wilde".
Neither Sir Robert nor Lord Goring but Lady Chiltern is the central character in the play. The action of the drama is based on her development from innocence to experience to higher innocence.
The point is that she is less perfect than she imagines. Some of Wilde's fairy tales indicate that the world of innocence is not human. The same is true of Lady Chiltern's world of innocence; it is a place in which human beings as though touched by a magic wand, become art objects. She sees her husband as an idol on pedestal, a beautiful work of art, perfect and white, made of ivory.
The imagery associated with Lady Chiltern, too suggests a nonhuman quality. This is how Act II ends... She is like a plant, or a blossom, but plants and blossoms are not human. They represent a delightful but underdeveloped form of life. There are higher forms, and Lady Chiltern, still a child, must move beyond her world if she wants to attain a better and more noble existence. Lord Goring saves Sir Robert from Mrs. Cheveley, but only Lady Chiltern's ability to move toward a higher innocence can really open up a new world for him. Lord Goring shows her the road. It is love and charity that will make Sir Robert, a prisoner of the past, a free man. (see p. 216)
a) Do you agree with the author? Give your arguments.
b) How do you assess Lady Chiltern's behaviour? The text above and the phrases below will help you to answer the question.
To be hard on smth; to make allowances to smb; to alter one's views; to worship smb; to make an ideal of smb; to turn from smb with horror and contempt; to be worth smth/doing smth; the origin of one's fortune; to ruin smb's career, life; to make false idols of smb.
c) What do you think of the two points of view on love?
"...love should come to cure us." (Sir Robert, p. 230) "I will love you always, because you will always be worthy of love." (Lady Chiltern, p. 202, Act I)
IX. Translate into Russian the passage on pp. 230-231 in writing("...Women think that they are making ideals of men ... haveruined mine."(S. R. Ch.)
X. a) Search Act II (both the lines and the author's remarks) for phrases of comparison
e. g. "I feel like a man on a ship that is sinking." (Sir Robert, p. 213)
Say what effect is achieved by comparison in your instances.
b) What stylistic devices dominate in Act II?
XI. Pick out some more adjectives for negative description, and say what or who they define.
XII. What scene in Act II may be considered its culmination?Describe it.
XIII. Act out a dialogue you like best in Act II (pair work). Give your comments on the scene you've performed (individual work).
XIV. Discuss Sir Robert's words first in the context of the play and then in the context of these days. Use the functional phrases. (Ref. Act I, Ex. II and XVI)
"Youth is the time for success." (p. 206) "The God of this century is wealth. To succeed one must have wealth... At all costs one must have wealtht." (p. 206)
XV. Exchange your impressions of Act II. Use the functional phrases.(See above).
XVI. Give a summary of Act II.
I. a) Translate into Russian the lines from Act III in writing.
9. "Doesn't that sound rather like tempting Providence?"(Lord Goring, p. 246).
b) Use the italicized phrases in your sentences.
II. Substitute one of the below words or phrases for the parts of the following sentences which are italicized.
1. You loved me once and you asked me to be your wjfe.
2. I cannot accept this offer, I have decided to decline it.
3. She is not interested much in eloquence in others. She thinks it a little loud.
4. I am going to do him a great service.
5. He had only two topics of conversation, his gout and his wife!I never could understand which of the two he was talking about.
6. How you men support each other!
7. My life is in danger.
8. The fact is that I am busy to-night.
9. Soon after the engagement the young scoundrel abandoned her.
To throw over; at stake; to make up one's mind; to propose to; to be engaged; to care for; to listen through keyholes; to render smb a service; to stand up for smb; to take smb for a model; to make out; to stand by.
III. Find the original for the italicized words and phrases.
1. I am dying for a glass of water. (p. 242)
2. I love her immensely. (p. 243)
3. I want to instruct my servant. (p. 242)
4. I was cruel to her this evening. (p. 243)
5. I am disgraced in her eyes. (p. 243)
8. I can rely on you absolutely, can't I? (p. 242))
9. My wife has found out everything. (p. 241)
IV. Describe the scene of misunderstanding between Lord Goring and Sir Robert Chiltern. Use the below phrases.
To hear a chair fall; to get excited; to give one's word of honour; to eavesdrop one's life secret; to have a reason for doing smth; to be at stake; to be guiltless of all offence; for smb's sake; to have something to do with smb.
V. Answer the questions.
VI. Search Act III for the author's remarks referred to Mrs.Cheveley. Pick out those which reveal her wicked nature and enable O. Wilde to associate her with a lamia.
VII. Choose a dialogue of half a page size and render it in reported speech. The list of verbs below will help you vary your presentation.
To wonder, to be dying to know; to learn; to discover; to agree; to refuse; to accept; to intend; to pretend; to advise; to insist; to justify; to make conclusion; to call smb's attention to; to distract smb's attention from; to point out; to exclaim; to add; to keep silent; to ignore; to make smb do smth; to reproach smb for smth; to be pleased with smb; to be surprised, shocked by smth/at hearing smth; to accuse smb of smth; to misunderstand.
VIII. Explain the paradoxes.
IX. What syntactical peculiarities mark the speech of Mrs.Cheveley? (pp. 238-239) How can you account for them?
X. Describe the psychological and emotional state of Sir Robert,expressed by the metaphor "I am a ship without a rudder in a night without a star." (p. 242)
XI. Discuss the conversation between Lord Goring and Mrs.Cheveley. Concentrate on the motives of their behaviour and methods of attaining their goals. Use the functional phrases(pair work). (Ref. Act I, Ex. II and XVI)
XII. Read the following fragments of criticism.
1. Oscar Wilde is a controversial figure. On the Continent of Europe his reputation stands as high as ever it did, and his name is probably, after Shakespeare's, the best known in English letters.
Englishmen are inclined to think this estimate exaggerated, and some of them have gone so far as to suggest that Wilde would now have been forgotten if it were not for "the scandal". "His verse will not bear a moment's critical attention. It is a series of echoes, relying upon a technical manipulation of phrase. Only in his comedies we reach the form wherein a theatrical intelligence displayed its proper quality." (James Laver)
Both plays were "comedies of manners" with their traditional conflict between intellect and emotion; the question of sex roles and their effect on the individual; and the individual's position in a utilitarian and hypocritical society. "Husband" is unquestionably a social comedy." (Rodney Shewan)
I. a) Find the English equivalents of the following phrases:
досада, неприятность, неудобство (р. 255); терять время (p. 256); нарушить договоренность (р. 258); мешать, быть помехой (р. 259); взять себе за правило, заиметь, завести привычку (р. 260); зависеть от кого-либо (р. 262); отплатить, возместить (р. 267); уйти в отставку (р. 268); помешать что-то сделать (р. 268); пожертвовать ради кого-то (р. 270); испытывать любовь к кому-то (р. 275).
II. Translate into English.
1. Род завел себе привычку скрывать от жены все неприятности на работе. 2. Она предупредила, что, если он не придет, как они договорились, она не будет больше с ним знаться. 3. Жена советовала ему уйти в отставку, чтобы они могли уединиться где-нибудь за границей, подальше от людей. 4. Если я не мешаю, я останусь и подожду, пока вы раскладываете розы в вазы. 5. Молодой человек, боюсь, что вы напрасно тратите время. Господина Брауна не будет до вечера. 6. Никто и ничто не помешает мне увидеть юную воспитанницу Джека. 7. Мне так не хочется (такая тоска) читать эту длинную статью! 8. Она не ждет благодарности за то, что делает для него каждый день. Она просто выполняет свой долг. 9. Роберт так сильно любил свою жену, что пожертвовал ради нее своей карьерой и славой. 10. Никто не мог представить, что эта молодая симпатичная особа только что украла у матери дорогую брошь. 11. Его любовь к сыну безгранична.
III. Explain in English.
The whole course of one's existence; turning point of one's life; to denounce a scheme; to have some influence on; detestable people; to reduce; to fall to a temptation; to conceal; a nuisance; to deliever a speech.
IV. Substitute the original words for the italicized words and phrases.
1. He has got more than courage. Sir, he has got a genius. (p. 257)
2. I wonder you agree to have anything to say to me. (p. 261)
6. I wish you would become a member of Parliament. (p. 257)
10. But I admit I have something to tell you that may upset you. (p. 263)
11. Mrs. Cheveley has given to Lord Goring the document. (p. 265).
V. Answer the questions.
10. What is your idea of an ideal husband?
VI. 1. Make up Sir Robert Chiltern's speech in the House to denounce the Argentine Scheme, deliver it in class. (Refer to pp. 188-189, Act I)
2. Describe all that happened in Lord Goring's drawing-room the day before. Use the below phrases:
To ask smb for help; to trust smb; to expect smb; to be concealed; to find out; to demand that smb should do smth; to force one's way; to have a terrible scene; to steal smth from smb; to take smth by force; to make use of the stolen letter; to ruin smb; to disgrace smb in the eyes of smb.
VII. Explain the following statements.
Lady Chiltern: "Oh yes, Robert, you should do that. It is your duty to do that."
Sir Robert Chiltern: "It is much to surrender."
Lady Chiltern: "No, it will be much to gain." (p. 266)
3. Lady Chiltern: "It is upon lines of intellect that a man's life progresses." (p. 271)
VIII. Read the following pieces of criticism.
1. "The play showed a considerable advance in construction and characterisation over the author's previous comedies, in spite of the weak fourth Act."
"The play was rejected on the basis of the last act's weakness; it had too many entrances and exits."
2. "The act is cleverly constructed to extract maximum theatrical excitement from the various disclosures."
IX. What stylistic device is used in Lord Caversham's pathetic lines on p. 267 and in pleading lines on p. 268?
X. a) Find some paradoxes in Act IV.
b) Name the characters of the comedy who are fond of paradox. Account for such peculiarity of their speech.
XI. Read the piece of criticism of George Woodcock (Wilde's contemporary) who objects to O. Wilde's specious moral scheme.
"In a circle where all are guilty, Chiltern, who has gained most by his roguery, is able to escape without punishment, and the height of his career is reached in a hypocritical speech wherein he denounces "the whole system of modern political finances" regardless of the fact that he is one of the worst examples of its use. His duplicity gains him universal praise for integrity, and so political farce is drawn to its usual end."
XII. It's noteworthy to say that many characters of Oscar Wilde's plays owe their names to place names. Look at the map of England and find the following place names:
the Chiltern hills, the Lake Windermere, the Lake District, Goring-on-Thames, Worthing, Darlington, Bracknell.
XV. Discuss the character sketch of one of the characters of the play (pair work).
I. Read the passage.
"Each character in the main plot provides the dramatic conflict: Lady Chiltern who believes that "circumstances should never alter principles"; Mrs. Cheveley, the libertine Machiavelli; Lord Goring, who hopes never to be taken seriously, but whose philosophy of surfaces does not prevent him from uttering the most serious lines of the play; and Sir Robert Chiltern whose features suggest "an almost complete separation of passion and intellect".
II. Exchange your impressions of the play. Keep in mind that"Husband" is the only comedy in which Wilde's full contempt for the hypocrisy of social norms, and his fears of their powers,are balanced by a detached presentation of a successful and socially acceptable alternative.
III. Answer the questions.
"The play is basically about the triumph of love – although, paradoxically, love can triumph only after art world of Boucher and great chandeliers has been transcended".
VI. Run a talk on O. Wilde's background, literary career and his play "Husband". Use the above summary of his biography and all the fragments of critical analysis.
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