Yesterday I sat the second exam of the May 2013 Block: Advanced Higher English. We only do one essay in the exam due to having submitted a creative writing folio (both will be published online on the 6th August 2013… And one might even end up in a paperback anthology a little later!). The writers we’ve studied over the year are William Shakespeare (Othello and Antony and Cleopatra) and Carol Ann Duffy (16 plays – I can’t bear to name them all). Duffy was always meant to be my back-up question, so I went for Shakespeare when the question looked possible:
“Iago and Octavius Caesar are each, in their own ways, obsessed with power.”
Keeping this assertion in mind, compare the role and function of Iago in Othello with the role and function of Octavius Caesar in Antony and Cleopatra.
I know that looks like an easy question – and it was – but I struggled with it. Sounds silly, but I hadn’t expected to be asked explicitly about the antagonists. I had the knowledge to draw together an answer but not the time to properly plan and bring all the evidence I needed together (I expect the examiner will be amused by my desperate scribblings on the front page; if not amused, then at the very least they might pity me). Looking back, I did essentially answer the question, which always helps, but I did so in such a clumsy and digressive way that I don’t expect to have done fantastically. Hopefully enough to have passed, but…
Still, the exam only constitutes 30% of the overall grade, and I don’t need it for anything besides pride – since I’m doing English Literature at university, I feel that I really aught to be handling this.
Coming soon: Geography and RMPS Higher! Then freedom and boredom (and probably more interesting blogs as a result).