An element of _________ on the part of the audience is interwoven into the multi-era saga, for two actors portraying the same character at different phases of life are distinguishable enough that the audience is able to discern differences for which the mere passing of years cannot account.
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Let’s begin by reading the sentence and taking it apart. We know that we are dealing with a play or movie (because there are “actors”), and the play / movie is described as a “multi-era saga.” So we know that the play or movie takes place at multiple points in time.
There are two actors that play the same character at different points in his / her life. These two actors are different, and the audience can notice the differences. The fact that the character has aged does not account for or explain the physical differences. So the audience knows that something is “not right,” and therefore realizes that the character is being played by two different actors.
We thus know that the two actors (which look different) are used as a dramatic device to enable the audience to clearly distinguish between two phases of a character's life.
The sentence says that there is an “element of _______ on part of the audience” in the play / movie. Here, it’s a bit hard to come up with our own word for the blank! The blank is referring to something the audience is doing, or feeling… but it’s not quite clear what. So the best approach is to through the answer choices one at a time :)
Answer choice (A): This answer could work - but there’s not enough in the sentence to justify it. We could argue that the audience feels surprised that two actors are being used for the same character… but the sentence does not focus on this. Instead, the sentence focuses on the unexplained differences between the two actors. The audience would not feel surprised that the two actors look different (since they are not the same actor), so this answer is not correct.
Answer choice (B): The word “foreboding” refers to a sense or expectation that something bad will happen. The fact that different actors are used for the same character doesn’t suggest that something bad will happen, so there’s no reason why the audience should feel “foreboding.”
Answer choice (C): It makes sense to say that the audience would have (or experience) an element of “disbelief.” The physical differences between the two actors make it clear that they are not the same person - so the audience would never really believe that they are the same person. However, in the play / movie, the audience needs to go along with the idea that these two actors are actually the same character, at different points in his / her life. Therefore, the audience experiences “disbelief” when they are watching the play - they cannot believe that the two actors are actually the same character, yet they have to set that knowledge aside in order for the play / movie to make sense. Thus, (C) is the correct answer.
Answer choice (D): Many students choose “confusion,” since they think the audience might be confused. This would be the case if the actors looked fairly similar. In other words, if they actors looked similar, and only slightly different, then the audience would be confused! They would not be sure whether the character is being played by just one actor, or by two different ones.
However, the sentence tells us clearly that the actors are “distinguishable.” So therefore, the audience would definitely figure out that the character is actually being played by two different actors. Thus, the word “confusion” doesn’t really fit into the sentence, and is not the right answer.
Answer choice (E): This is the most commonly chosen incorrect answer! However, there isn’t any “predictability” on the audience’s behalf. The passage does not mention that we know in advance how the audience will behave, or that it’s easy to figure out how the audience will react. So the audience is not “predictable.” In addition, the fact that different actors are playing the same character is not predictable - this is something fairly unusual! So (E) is not the right answer.
1. It’s always important to read the sentence carefully before diving into the answer choices.
2. If it’s difficult to come up with your own word for the blank, you can carefully go through the answer choices and eliminate them one at a time.
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