The Prisoner of Zenda, Chapter 3

An exercise in Listening & Reading Comprehension …

The Prisoner of Zenda is an adventure novel by Anthony Hope (UK, 1863-1933), published in 1894. The king of the fictional Ruritania has been given a soporific on the eve of his coronation and thus becomes unable to attend the crucial ceremony. The internal situation in the kingdom is such that in order for the king to retain his crown his coronation must go forward. An English gentleman on holiday who fortuitously resembles the monarch –being a distant cousin to him– is persuaded to impersonate the king in an attempt to save the situation. In the end, the king is restored to his throne.

As this exercise on listening and reading comprehension started on 2011-09-20 continues, in Chapter 3 Rudolf Rassendyll meets his distant cousin Rudolf Elphberg, king of Ruritania, in the forest of Zenda. They were both taken aback by their physical resemblance. Amused by the singular encounter, the king invites his English cousin to dine with him on the eve of his coronation. Plenty of talking and drinking goes on and just when the king decided to end the celebration, he was presented with a bottle of wine sent by the Duke of Strelsau for him to drink, ‘for the love that he bears his brother.’ Obligingly, Rudolf of Ruritania drained the bottle and then laid his head on his arms on the table.

By clicking on this link you may listen to a podcast of the book’s Chapter 3 (be patient, the audio file does take some time to load). Read along (this link opens its pdf file on a separate window) before attempting to answer any plural number of questions of your choice from among the following:

  1. Who are
    a) Rudolf Elphberg;
    b) Colonel Sapt; and,
    c) Fritz von Tarlenheim?
    What can you tell thus far about each of these characters?
  2. How did Rudolf Rassendyll meet the king’s attendants?
  3. What was the king’s first reaction at being told who was the newcomer?
  4. Why did Rudolf of Ruritania drink all the wine sent to him by his brother without sharing any with his guest or retinue?
  5. EN ESPAÑOL –por ver si así se anima alguien a hacerlo– escriba un resumen del capítulo (en 10-20 líneas)