That Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale (1610-1611) is modeled after Euripides' Alcestis (fifth century B.C.) seems unde...

Grace on November 26 at 04:07AM

Why is the answer A?

Why not B?

3 Replies

Katherine on December 21 at 03:17AM

Hi @GLEE,

The question asks you to identify the answer choice that would LEAST strengthen the argument. The basic argument in the question is that Shakespeare was probably familiar with the Latin translation of Euripides’ play and not the Greek original.

Answer choice A says that Shakespeare’s plays include Latin phrases that were widely used in England. If these phrases were widely used, it is possible that Shakespeare would be familiar with them even if he didn’t know Latin. Therefore, this would not support the argument that Shakespeare read the Latin translation of the Euripides play and this is the correct answer.

Answer choice C says that Buchanan’s Latin translation of the Euripides play was faithful to the original and widely available during the time when Shakespeare wrote The Winter’s Tale. The fact that it is widely available suggests that Shakespeare could have easily read it. The fact that it is faithful to the original version would explain why Shakespeare’s play shares many similarities to the original. Therefore this answer does support the argument that Shakespeare relied on a Latin translation when writing his play.

You also asked why the correct answer was not Answer choice B. B says that an English language version of the play was available in Shakespeare’s time. However, this version differed from the original Greek version in ways that Shakespeare play does not. If Shakespeare read this English version and drew from it when writing his play, you would expect that his play would also differ from the original. Because it does not, Shakespeare likely did not rely on the English version and probably had another source. Therefore, this answer strengthens the argument that Shakespeare relied on a Latin translation of the Euripides play.

Max on May 4 at 11:38PM

Your explanation doesn't seem to explain why B fails to strengthen the argument

Ravi on May 5 at 05:49PM

@maxmassey,

(B) says, "The only English language version of Alcestis available in
Shakespeare's time differed drastically from the original in ways The
Winter's Tale does not."

(B) doesn't fail to strengthen the argument; rather, as Katherine
noted, (B) strengthens the argument, and this is why it's not the
right answer. It's important to remember that the answer we need to
pick is the one that LEAST STRENGTHENS the argument.

With (B), this would mean that the English translation doesn't match
The Winter's Tale's relationship to the original version of Alcestis.
This would strengthen the argument by casting doubt on an alternative
source for Shakespeare's familiarity with the story.

Does this make sense? Let us know if you have any other questions!