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BEGC-104: British Poetry and Drama : 14th- 17th Centuries

BEGC-104: British Poetry and Drama : 14th- 17th Centuries

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

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Assignment Code: BEGC-104/ASST/TMA/2021-22

Course Code: BEGC-104

Assignment Name: British Poetry and Drama - 14th to 17th Century

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Answer all questions.

Section A


Write short notes on the following in about 200 words each. 2 × 5 = 10


Q a) Courtly love sonnet

Ans) Courtly love was a literary concept of love in mediaeval Europe that emphasised nobility and chivalry. Because of their "courtly love," knights embark on adventures and execute different deeds or services for ladies, according to mediaeval literature. This type of love began as a literary fiction written for the nobility's enjoyment, but as time went, these concepts about love evolved and drew a bigger audience. As a collection of social rituals, a "game of love" arose around these beliefs in the late Middle Ages. "Nobly loving" was thought to be a beneficial and rewarding habit.


At the end of the eleventh century, courtly love began at the ducal and princely courts of Aquitaine, Provence, Champagne, ducal Burgundy, and the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. In essence, courtly love was a "love at once unlawful and morally edifying, passionate and disciplined, humiliating and exalting, human and transcendent" feeling of sensual yearning and spiritual fulfilment. In most cases, the sonnet conjures up the picture of a man pleading with a female to accept his love. He'd show off his lovesickness, ponder the girl's allure, and beg her to have mercy on him. Gaston Paris coined the phrase "courtly love," which has subsequently been defined and applied in a variety of ways. Its interpretation, origins, and influences are still a source of heated discussion.


Q b) The Elizabethan World

Ans) England progressed to varied levels of social mobility during Elizabeth's reign. On a religious level, the Anglican settlement attempted to reconcile religious differences. She was able to maintain the Protestant spirit alive through the settlement. England was steadily converting itself into a world of mercantile capital in the economic domain. The traders and merchants gained both mobility and power in the world of kings and queens, as well as the nobility. This is the world that Shakespeare lived in. Though majority of Elizabeth's five million subjects lived in the countryside, their wealth was dependent on foreign trade; the feudal society of England was churning, according to Boris Ford. Other social groups, particularly those involved in trade, would acquire prominence as the aristocracy became increasingly economically weak. In works of literature, Elizabeth's consolidation of authority can be witnessed.


However, with the advent of renaissance ideals, the displacement of earth from the centre, and a revived concern in man, these notions could no longer be taken at face value. In sixteenth-century England, a new ferment was brewing in tandem with societal economic developments. Even when it began to pursue its own monetary interests, the gentry remained attached to the court. They were much better off by the end of the sixteenth century, and they attempted to purchase estates in order to compete with the nobility.


In summary, the period of Elizabeth's reign was relatively stable while also being replete with changes in both social and economic structure.



Section B


Answer the following reference to the context in about 300 words each: 3 X 10 = 30


Q a) I was aboute to wedde a wyf; allas,

What shold I bye it on my flesh so deere?

Yet hadde I leverewedde no wyf to-yeere!

Ans) The storey begins with a Knight who has raped a young woman, and the Queen, for some reason, wishes to give him a second chance. King Arthur initially intends to murder the Knight, but later decides to delegate the penalty to the Queen. The Queen grants the Knight a year and a day to return with the solution to the question, "What do women crave the most?" ” The knight will be murdered if he cannot find the solution to the question. To find the solution to the Queen's inquiry, he embarks on a long journey. He approaches a number of women and receives a number of responses, none of which sit well with the knight. The last has arrived to locate what he seeks, yet he remains perplexed. He stumbles across an elderly, ugly lady who claims to have what he is looking for and that he will pay for her knowledge. She offers him the answer to the question and tells the Queen about it. She is happy, and she releases him, saving his life.


The old lady wishes for the handsome knight to marry her, and he promised to do whatever she requested. They marry, and the knight is unhappy with her and treats her badly. The old woman is concerned that he feels disgusted by her in bed on their wedding night. She tells him that her good looks can be an advantage—she will be a good wife to him because no other man would want her. She asks him which he prefers: a trustworthy and truthful wife or a gorgeous young woman who may or may not be faithful. The Knight responds that she has the last say. She promises beauty and fidelity now that she has the ultimate power, with him giving her complete control. When the Knight returns his gaze to the old woman, he notices a young and gorgeous woman. The old woman creates "what women seek most," as well as the solution to his question, sovereignty ("Wife of Bath's Tale").


Q b) With thousand arrowes, which your eies have shot:

Yet shoot ye sharpely still, and spare me not,

But glory thinke to make these cruel stoures.

Ans) The lover asks the beloved to accept him so that he can be at peace with her in Edmund Spenser's Sonnet 57 "Sweet Warrior" from Amoretti. The lover can no longer live with the beloved's refusals and asks the beloved to accept him so that he can be at peace with her. The lover refers to the beloved as "Sweet Warrior," which is an oxymoron in the sense that warriors are typically brave and ruthless to their foes.


In the next section of the poem, the poet lover describes how she had short thousand arrows that penetrated through the beloved's heart from the beloved's eyes. She hasn't stopped shooting arrows like this; in fact, she continues to do so. The lover begs the beloved to spare him now and to cease performing such "beautiful brutality" on him since he can no longer live-in pain like this.


The lover then describes the beloved's actions as "extremely cruel" – "Ye terrible one" – as she continues to harm the lover. The lover then goes on to ask the beloved what “glory” she is accomplishing by injuring the lover in this way. In most wars, soldiers are ruthless to their adversaries and continue to injure them until the adversary dies. The lover begs the beloved to see him as a lover rather than an enemy, and to accept him so that he might live peacefully with the beloved. The lover then inquires as to what glory the beloved would derive from "slaying" the lover who "gladly" want to live with her. His plea is for the beloved to see him as a friend rather than a foe, and to accept him. If the beloved accepts him, it will be "timely grace" for him, and his scars will gradually heal, allowing them to enjoy the most fruitful lives possible.


Q c) A mortall thing so to immortalize,

For I my selve shall lyke to this decay,

And eek my name bee wyped out lykewize.

Ans) When the poem begins, it appears like the speaker, Spencer, is reminiscing over a bygone incident with his girlfriend at the beach. He writes her name in the sand by the sea beach with love, but the harsh sea waves wash it away. Feeling challenged, the speaker writes her name in the sand once more, but the sea waves obliterate his beloved's name once more. Sea waves have been the prey of his useless action. When his beloved notices his deed, she warns him not to undertake the impossible task of writing her name on the beach. She gently reminds the speaker that nothing on this planet is permanent. Her name, as well as herself, will vanish from the shores of life one day. Time is a cruel mistress, and death is unavoidable. She refers to him as Vain Man since he is merely attempting the unattainable feat of transforming a mortal into an immortal.


In answer, the speaker confesses that everything, with the exception of some virtues, must die and disappear from the world. Her values and name will live on in the hereafter. Through his verse, he promises to immortalise her. Through his sonnet, her name will be honoured, and her virtues and love will go on for aeons. When everything on earth succumbs to the terrible hands of time and death, their love will rise to a higher level and live an endless life. Their love will be rejuvenated every time his sonnet is read and performed.


The poet is focused on the virtues of his sweetheart as he concentrates deeper. He has only mentioned her inner beauty and values, not her outer attractiveness. The poet honours the value of spirituality and human goodness by immortalising her virtues via his words. His main focus was also on love, love for each other that was based on spirituality rather than bodily.


Section C


Answer the following questions in about 800 words each: 3 X 20 = 60


Q 1) Discuss the character of Dr. Faustus.

Ans) In Marlowe's play, Faustus is the protagonist and tragic hero. He's a contradictory figure, capable of great eloquence and great desire, but also prone to a peculiar, almost intentional ignorance and a readiness to squander powers acquired at great cost. Faustus is just beginning his career as a magician when we first meet him, and while we already know how things will turn out, there is a grandeur to Faustus as he considers all the wonders that his magical talents would generate. He envisions amassing fortune from all four corners of the earth, altering the map of Europe, and getting access to all of the universe's knowledge. He's an arrogant, conceited man, but his aims are so lofty that we can't help but admire him, and we even sympathise with him. With its rejection of the mediaeval, God-centered universe and embracing of human possibility, he epitomises the Renaissance spirit. Faustus is the personification of possibility, at least when he first learns magic.


Faustus, on the other hand, has an obtuseness that shows up during his bargaining sessions with Mephastophilis. He's determined that the only way to achieve his goals is to make a deal with the devil. He tells himself that hell isn't so horrible after all, and that all one needs is "fortitude"; other times, even while chatting with Mephastophilis, he tells the unbelieving demon that he doesn't believe hell exists. -Faustus, on the other hand, is plagued with uncertainties from the start, setting a pattern throughout the play in which he continually approaches repentance only to back away at the last moment.


Bullying Faustus is easier than it appears, because Marlowe spends the middle scenes of the play revealing Faustus' actual, petty nature, after setting him up as a grandly tragic man of broad visions and tremendous ambitions. When Faustus finally gets his long-awaited abilities, he has no idea what to do with them. This doubt, according to Marlowe, arises in part from the fact that the longing for knowledge leads inexorably to God, whom Faustus has rejected. However, ultimate power corrupts Faustus in the long run: once he has everything, he no longer wants to accomplish anything. Instead, he travels around Europe, performing conjuring performances and playing tricks on yokels in order to impress various heads of state. He uses his extraordinary abilities for what amounts to petty enjoyment. As he meets even more small nobility and performs ever more insignificant magic acts, the realms of possibility narrow gradually, until the Faustus of the first few scenes is completely swallowed up in mediocrity. Faustus is only saved from mediocrity in the final scene, when the knowledge of his imminent demise restores his earlier gift of great speech, and he regains his wide sense of vision. Now, though, he sees a vision of hell looming over him, ready to engulf him whole. Marlowe used some of his best poetry to describe Faustus' dying hours, during which his desire for remorse eventually triumphs, but it is too late. With its rushed rush from concept to idea and its despondent, Renaissance-renouncing last sentence, "I'll burn my books!" Faustus is restored to his old majesty in his closing statement. ” He becomes a tragic hero once more, a great man undone because his desires clashed with God's law.


Faustus as Dramatic Character

Faustus is a guy who is disappointed with his studies in dialectics, law, medicine, and divinity when we first encounter him. Despite being the world's most brilliant scholar, his studies have left him unsatisfied, and he is depressed about the limits of human understanding. He begins to dabble with necromancy in order to quench his need for knowledge. He aspires to break free from the confines of everyday life and reach new heights. One could argue that he aspires to be godlike.


Faustus is willing to sell his soul to the devil under the terms of a contract in which he will serve Mephistophilis for twenty-four years and then submit his soul to Lucifer at the end of that time. He appears to be a great guy who want to do good for humanity at first, but his willingness to sacrifice his soul for a few years of pleasure causes him to descend into devastation.


At several points throughout the play, Faustus pauses to examine his predicament and comes close to repentance. He considers repentance frequently, but he stays consciously allied with Mephistophilis and Lucifer, never taking the initial steps toward forgiveness.


He rationalises his failure to turn to God by the end of the drama when he is waiting for his damnation. Internal and external influences suggest that Faustus may have turned to God and been pardoned throughout the play. The professors ask Faustus to seek God's forgiveness in the final scene, but Faustus rationalises that he has lived against God's mandates, and he makes no attempt to seek God's pardon until the appearance of the devils. By then, all he can do is scream in anguish and fear at his impending doom.


Q 2) Write a critical appreciation on ‘Death Be Not Proud’.

Ans)  Death be not Proud " is included as sonnet no. 10 in the volume of 'Holy Sonnets: Divine Meditations'. Through this sonnet the poet sings the glory and immortality of the soul, and the ultimate defeat of death. Demolishing the popular idea of death as a mighty and dreadful power, the poet says that it is not powerful as men think. It is rather a miserable slave, an agent of fate, chance, actions of wicked people, poison, wars, sickness, and old age. It induces sleep, but there are various other means like opium and drugs which give a better and gentler sleep. So, death has no reason to be proud of its power. It can only make people sleep for a temporary period of time, and after sleep in the grave people shall wake up on the day of resurrection and live forever. Then death's jurisdiction comes to an end. In fact, death does not kill human beings. It is actually death that dies, not the soul. Thus, the immortality of the soul is ensured.


The theme of the poem is simple: powerlessness of death and the poet presents his theme dramatically. He personifies and addresses death, "Death be not proud", and he gives argument after argument showing the powerlessness of death. The language is plain and there is a tone of self-confidence and spirited energy. This is a lively poem about death, and simple, calm denial of the power of death, " for thou art not so", and this establishes its feeling. We find again the theme of death and sleep. When a man is resting or asleep, he is like a dead man. Rest and sleep are, therefore, images of death. As rest and sleep are a source of much pleasure, so death must be a source of even greater pleasure, because rest and sleep are merely pictures of death. So, none should be afraid of death.


Again, death has no power in itself. It has no independent existence or authority of its own. In order to kill a man, it has to seek the assistance of chance, accident, the power of kings and criminals. Nor does death keep good company. It lives with poison, war, and sickness, all of which are its instruments for killing people.


The whole trend of these images is to cut down death to size. The words "why swell's thou then"? repeat the theme of the first line, " Death be not proud " ... In the concluding couplet only one word "eternally" is not a monosyllable. The meaning is hammered into us, an effect of at least partly due to the effort we must make if we are to enunciate the words with their awkward combinations of consonants. "One short sleep past" is not easy to say, and neither are the two words, "Death, thou" ... This sacrifice of flowing sweetness to energy caused some readers to condemn Donne's verse as harsh, yet the dramatic control over the movement and tone, as exhibited within the brief compass of the sonnet, gives Donne's verse its range and power.


The octave shows that death is neither dreadful nor mighty. The sestet brings the argument to a personal level and regards death as a slave and a door through which the soul passes to immortality. The last line heats the nail on the head. It is not the poet who dies but death who shall die. Thus, the poem ends with the declaration of the victory of Christian Resurrection over death.



Having established death as nothing more than a restful passage between life on earth and the eternal life, the speaker presents death’s more fearful properties—represented by images like the grim reaper—as comically inaccurate. One can read the speaker's declaration that “death, thou shalt die" as his assertion that that this idea of death as something frightening and omnipotent will meet its end. The speaker of the poem thus aims to flip death on its head—its pride is misplaced because it is nothing for people to be afraid of. The speaker achieves this by literally talking down to death, making a mockery of its inflated idea of itself.


The poem also paints death as “slave” to earthly things, further emphasizing death’s powerlessness. Death is associated with “fate, chance, kings … desperate men … poison, war, and sickness.” It is completely of the earth, the speaker implies, and depends upon earthly things for its existence. Death is not a master of anything, then, but a slave.


Even as a form of rest, death isn’t all that impressive. Indeed, the speaker mentions “poppy” (opiate drugs) and “charms” (magic and spells) as better means of obtaining rest. Thus, whichever way death is looked at, it’s inferior to something else. It is, essentially, irrelevant, summed up by the speaker's question, “why swell’st thou then?” The speaker asks death what it actually has to be prideful about.


Overall, the poem's presents death as having just one function: to transition people between life and the afterlife. With its fearsome power dispelled, death itself can die.


Q 3) Discuss the ending of the play Macbeth.

Ans) Macduff bears an enormous load of grief, anger, and responsibility into his climactic encounter with Macbeth. While opposing armies clash in the background and the politics of nations intersect, all under the looming shadow of dark magic, the closing scenes of the play are tightly focused on an isolated set of human interactions. Realizing how much centered on the character, I was determined to carry my weight as Macduff.


During one performance, I lost hold of my sword, and it fell off the elevated platform on which the actor playing Macbeth and I were performing our carefully choreographed duel. I didn't even pause to think I plunged after it while Macbeth, also improvising, retreated to the next platform, where we were supposed to bring the fight to its conclusion--the climax within the climax.


I popped back up, sword in hand, and chased him down, at which point we picked up our choreography and finished as planned. We were both so caught up in our characters and the irresistible momentum of the script that we were able to recover without the audience being aware that anything had gone wrong and without losing the intensity of the scene. In the traditional, classical sense of that word, the ending of Shakespeare's Macbeth is truly epic.


Creating the Climax

The term climax refers to the point of highest tension in a story or plot (in fact, the root word is synonymous with staircase or ladder) as well as its culmination, when all of the story threads intersect for whatever resolution occurs. In Scene 7, young Siward confronts Macbeth. Macbeth believes he has the ultimate ace-in-the-hole, the witches' prophecy: 'What's he/ That was not born of woman? Such a one/ Am I to fear, or none.' The seemingly inevitable happens as Macbeth defeats young Siward easily. This scene is climatically necessary to Scene 8, when Macbeth faces Macduff, for several reasons:


1) It establishes Macbeth's faith in the witches' prophecy.


2) Siward is the son of a standing noble, and his death represents Macbeth's threat to traditional nobility and the birthright of the next generation.


3) Macbeth is shown to draw his power from the unnatural/supernatural, upsetting rightful balance in the human sphere.


4) The audience is put into doubt about the outcome of the play, at least in terms of Macbeth himself.


Macduff enters just after Macbeth's departure, tracking him by the battlefield noise. He states his refusal to raise his sword to the peasants and mercenaries comprising Macbeth's army, and rededicates himself to avenging his wife and children, whom Macbeth had murdered. Asking for fortune to guide him, he exits hot on Macbeth's heels with an intensity that will carry directly into the concluding scene of the play. This stuff is as good as any action adventure on film.


Act 5, Scene 8

The final scene of Macbeth opens with Macduff rushing in to find Macbeth, facing away. As angry and driven as he is, Macduff still has his honor: 'Turn, hell-hound, turn!', he says, giving Macbeth the opportunity be en garde rather than cutting him down while his back is turned. Macbeth responds, unexpectedly, with what seems like a pang of conscience: 'my soul is too much charged/With blood of thine already.' He still believes himself invincible and warns Macduff of the 'charmed life' that protects him against all those born of woman. Here is where it gets really interesting. Macduff takes an opposite view. Words alone, whether those of a ghostly prophecy or those of Macbeth himself, are nothing compared to his own wordless anger: The true voice of revenge lies in action, not language. Furthermore, Macbeth should consider the circumstances of Macduff's birth. Macduff now reveals to Macbeth that he entered the world by being "untimely ripp'd" from his mother's womb: He was not, therefore, in the strict sense, "born" of woman. With the short but powerful sentence "Despair thy charm," Macbeth must know that his struggle for survival is over. The penultimate prophecy has come true.


On another part of the battlefield, Macbeth and Macduff finally come face to face. Words, then sword thrusts are exchanged, and Macbeth, the bloody and tyrannical usurper of the throne of Scotland, meets his predestined end.



At the end of the play, Macbeth’s severed head is brought to Malcolm by Macduff, proof that Macbeth has been overthrown, and that Scotland is now Malcom’s to rule. Malcolm promises rewards to all who have fought for him, and names them all earls, the first in Scotland. He announces that they will now work to welcome back all the people of Scotland who fled under Macbeth’s tyranny and invites all present to watch him be crowned at Scone Castle, the traditional coronation site of Scottish kings. In his final speech, Malcolm also mentions that Lady Macbeth is said to have committed suicide. Thus, the play ends with very little ambiguity: the good side has won, and the evil side has been vanquished.

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