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TPO閲讀解析——The origins of theater

The origins of theater

In seeking to describe the origins of theater, one must rely primarily on speculation, since there is little concrete evidence on which to draw. The most widely accepted theory, championed by anthropologists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, envisions theater as emerging out of myth and ritual. The process perceived by these anthropologists may be summarized briefly. During the early stages of its development, a society becomes aware of forces that appear to influence or control its food supply and well-being. Having little understanding of natural causes, it attributes both desirable and undesirable occurrences to supernatural or magical forces, and it searches for means to win the favor of these forces. Perceiving an apparent connection between certain actions performed by the group and the result it desires, the group repeats, refines and formalizes those actions into fixed ceremonies, or rituals.

  1. The word championed in the passage is closest in meaning to
  1. changed
  2. debated
  3. created
  4. supported

Correct Answer is D.



  1. The word attributes in the passage is closest in meaning to
  1. ascribes
  2. leaves
  3. limits
  4. contrasts

Correct Answer is A.



  1. According to paragraph 1, theories of the theater
  1. are mainly hypothetical
  2. are well supported by factual evidence
  3. have rarely been agreed upon by anthropologists
  4. were expressed in the early stages of theater's development

Correct Answer is A.

解析:paragraph 1第一句“In seeking to describe the origins of theater, one must rely primarily on speculation, since there is little concrete evidence on which to draw.”已經説明了問題,都是假説,沒有確鑿證據,所以B是錯誤的,選AD是沒有提及;C的話,通過第二句“The most widely accepted theory, championed by anthropologists in the late nineteenth…”可以得知并不是rarely


  1. According to paragraph 1, why did some societies develop and repeat ceremonial actions?
  1. To establish a positive connection between the members of the society
  2. To help society members better understand the forces controlling their food supply
  3. To distinguish their beliefs from those of other societies
  4. To increase the society's prosperity

Correct Answer is D.

解析:Paragraph 1最後一句解釋,由於觀測到行爲與結果的明顯聯係,於是人們開始重複ceremoniesrituals,重複的意義是這些關係到不僅僅是food supply,還有各種desires。直接的結果是爲了人類更好的生活,換言之,繁榮。故選D



Stories (myths) may then grow up around a ritual. Frequently the myths include representatives of those supernatural forces that the rites celebrate or hope to influence. Performers may wear costumes and masks to represent the mythical characters or supernatural forces in the rituals or in accompanying celebrations. As a person becomes more sophisticated, its conceptions of supernatural forces and causal relationships may change. As a result, it may abandon or modify some rites. But the myths that have grown up around the rites may continue as part of the group’s oral tradition and may even come to be acted out under conditions divorced from these rites. When this occurs, the first step has been taken toward theater as an autonomous activity, and thereafter entertainment and aesthetic values may gradually replace the former mystical and socially efficacious concerns.


  1. The word this in the passage refer to
  1. the acting out of rites.
  2. the divorce of ritual performers from the rest of society
  3. the separation of myths from rites
  4. the celebration of supernatural forces

Correct Answer is C.

解析:“As a person becomes more sophisticated, its conceptions of supernatural forces and causal relationships may change. As a result, it may abandon or modify some rites. 關鍵句:“But the myths that have grown up around the rites may continue as part of the group’s oral tradition and may even come to be acted out under conditions divorced from these rites. 中提示到“…be acted out under conditions divorced from rites.”也就是說表演和儀式分離開來,即使沒有儀式的情況下也可以演出,這麽一來,神話與儀式開始分離。選C


  1. The word autonomous in the passage is closest meaning to
  1. artistic
  2. important
  3. independent
  4. established

Correct Answer is C.



  1. According to paragraph 2, what may cause societies to abandon certain rites?
  1. Emphasizing theater as entertainment
  2. Developing a new understanding of why events occur
  3. Finding a more sophisticated way of representing mythical characters
  4. Moving from a primarily oral tradition to a more written tradition

Correct Answer is B.




In addition to exploring the possible antecedents of theater, scholars have also theorized about the motives that led people to develop theater. Why did theater develop, and why was it valued after it ceased to fulfill the function of ritual? Most answers fall back on the theories about the human mind and basic human needs. One, set forth by Aristotle in the fourth century B.C., sees humans as naturally imitative—as taking pleasure in imitating persons, things, and actions and in seeing such imitations. Another, advanced in the twentieth century, suggests that humans have a gift for fantasy, through which they seek to reshape reality into more satisfying forms than those encountered in daily life. Thus, fantasy or fiction (of which drama is one form) permits people to objectify their anxieties and fears, confront them, and fulfill their hopes in fiction if not fact. The theater, then, is one tool whereby people define and understand their world or escape from unpleasant realities.


  1. All of the following are mentioned in paragraph 5 as possible reasons that led societies to develop theater EXCEPT:
  1. Theater allows people to face what they are afraid of.
  2. Theater gives an opportunity to imagine a better reality.
  3. Theater is a way imitating other people.
  4. Theater provides people the opportunity to better understand the human mind.

Correct Answer is D.



  1. Which of the following best describes the organization of paragraph 5?
  1. The author presents two theories for a historical phenomenon.
  2. The author argues against theories expressed earlier in the passage.
  3. The author argues for replacing older theories with a new one.
  4. The author points out problems with two popular theories.

Correct Answer is A.

解析:選A。作者提出了2個理論,1是由亞里士多德背書的模仿理論,人通過模仿能獲得快樂;2是人的天性有reshape reality,不喜歡日常,需要fantasyfiction緩解焦慮或逃避現實。作者并沒有贊成或反對這兩個理論,只是單單陳述出來。



But neither the human imitative instinct nor a penchant for fantasy by itself leads to an autonomous theater. Therefore, additional explanations are needed. One necessary condition seems to be a somewhat detached view of human problems. For example, one sign of this condition is the appearance of the comic vision, since comedy requires sufficient detachment to view some deviations from social norms as ridiculous rather than as serious threats to the welfare of the entire group. Another condition that contributes to the development of autonomous theater is the emergence of the aesthetic sense. For example, some early societies ceased to consider certain rites essential to their well-being and abandoned them, nevertheless, they retained as parts of their oral tradition the myths that had grown up around the rites and admired them for their artistic qualities rather than for their religious usefulness.


  1. The word penchant in the passage is closest in meaning to
  1. compromise
  2. inclination
  3. tradition
  4. respect

Correct Answer is B.



  1. Why does the author mention comedy?
  1. To give an example of early types of theater
  2. To explain how theater helps a society respond to threats to its welfare
  3. To help explain why detachment is needed for the development of theatre
  4. To show how theatrical performers become detached from other members of society

Correct Answer is C.



  1. Which of the sentences below best express the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
  1. A society's rites were more likely to be retained in the oral tradition if its myths were admired for artistic qualities.
  2. The artistic quality of a myth was sometimes an essential reason for a society to abandon it from the oral tradition.
  3. Some early societies stopped using myths in their religious practices when rites ceased to be seen as useful for social well-being.
  4. Myths sometimes survived in a society's tradition because of their artistic qualities even after they were no longer deemed religiously beneficial.

Correct Answer is D.




Although origin in ritual has long been the most popular, it is by no means the only theory about how the theater came into being. Storytelling has been proposed as one alternative.  Under this theory, relating and listening to stories are seen as fundamental human pleasures.  Thus, the recalling of an event (a hunt, battle, or other feat) is elaborated through the narrator’s pantomime and impersonation and eventually through each role being assumed by a different person.


  1. Look at the four squares [ ] that indicate where the following sentence can be added to the passage.

To enhance their listener's enjoyment, storytellers continually make their stories more engaging and memorable.

Where would the sentence best fit?

Click on a square [ ] to insert the sentence in the passage.

Correct Answer is D.

解析:原句中有提到listener,則説明必然是在storytelling之後,故AB不可能選,然而第三個空之後的under this theory是指的Storytelling,所以C部分不可能填空;并且第四個空后的Thus於是有總結的意向,但總結的是什麽呢?這裏出現了空白,并且也沒有別的選項了,只能選D


  1. Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some answer choices do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This questions is worth 2 points.

Anthropologists have developed many theories to help understand why and how theater originated.




A. The presence of theater in almost all societies is thought to have occurred because early storytellers traveled to different groups to tell their stories.

B. Many theorists believe that theater arises when societies act out myths to preserve social well-being.

C. The more sophisticate societies became, the better they could influence desirable occurrences through ritualized theater.

D. Some theories of theater development focus on how theater was used by group leaders to govern other members of society.

E. Theater may have come from pleasure humans receive from storytelling and moving rhythmically

F. The human capacities for imitation and fantasy are considered possible reasons why societies develop theater.

Correct Answer is BEF.

解析:EF基本上沒什麽異議,AD是虛假事實,BC之間有爭議,B你可能因爲之前做題得到一個結論就是戲劇不是用來preserve social well-being的,但事實是,一開始還是這麽做的,人類學家們這麽認爲的,後來才漸漸因爲藝術價值而保留。C的問題在於“通過ritualized theater來影響一些想要的結果”,問題是theater是趨向於獨立的,而不是更加儀式化,同時這也是虛假事實。







This article was last edited at 2021-05-18 22:02:59

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