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

Michael on August 24 at 02:25AM

Question Stem Least Strengthens

The trouble I found came from the question stem as I was unsure what the criteria was for the correct answer? Is least strengthens a bizzaro strengthen question or is it asking for an answer choice that weakens the argument.

1 Reply

Irina on August 24 at 06:07PM

@Miketbrooks,

For a least strengthen question, every answer choice will strengthen the argument except for the correct answer choice that would either weaken or have no impact on the argument.

The author tells us that The Winter's Tale is modeled after a Greek play but since Shakespeare knew little to no Greek, he must have read the Latin translation.

Let's look at the answer choices:

(A) Latin phrases that were widely used in England during Shakespeare's time appear in a number of his plays.

Correct. This fact has no impact on the validity of the argument. The fact that Shakespeare used a few common phrases in his plays does not allow us to infer that he was fluent in Latin or used a Latin translation of Alcestis.

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

Incorrect. This fact strengthens the argument because it rejects an alternative explanation of how Shakespeare came to know Alcestis. If the English version was inaccurate, he must have read the Latin version.

(C) Paul Buchanan's 1539 Latin translation of Alcestis was faithful to the original and widely available during the 1600s.

Incorrect. This fact strengthens the argument because it demonstrates that an accurate Latin translation of Alcestis was available in Shakespearean times.

(D) Shakespeare's father's community standing makes it probably that Shakespeare attended grammar school, where Latin would have been a mandatory subject.

Incorrect. This fact strengthens the argument because it provides a necessary assumption that Shakespeare knew Latin.

(E) There is strong evidence to suggest that Shakespeare relied on Latin translations of Greek plays as sources for some of his other works.

Incorrect. This fact strengthens the argument because it demonstrates that Shakespeare knew Latin and commonly used Latin translations as sources.


Let me know if it makes sense and if you have any further questions.