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Deciphering the Wheel of Fortune: IELTS Reading Passage With Questions & Answers

Updated on 09 February, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

Introduction:

The 'Wheel of Fortune' or Rota Fortunae is a concept rooted in medieval and ancient philosophy, symbolizing the capricious nature of Fate. The wheel belongs to the goddess Fortuna, who spins it at random, changing the positions of those on the wheel: some suffer great misfortune, others gain windfalls. Understanding this philosophical concept not only broadens one’s knowledge but also prepares IELTS learners for reading passages that discuss historical and abstract ideas, providing a perfect practice opportunity.

Passage:

The Wheel of Fortune stands as a powerful symbol of the dynamic nature of life’s fortunes and has been represented extensively in medieval literature and philosophy. It suggests that the course of one’s life is subject to the whims of Fortune. Historically, this wheel is not just a pagan concept but was also adopted by Christian theology during the Middle Ages as a way to explain the seemingly random fortunes that befall individuals.

Fortuna, the goddess of luck, was said to spin the Wheel at random, with no regard for the desires or actions of humans. Kings could become beggars and vice versa; such was the power of Fortune. This notion was a way for people to make sense of the unpredictable nature of life and to impart a lesson in humility.

One of the most notable references to the Wheel of Fortune is found in Boethius's "The Consolation of Philosophy," which was written in the 6th century. Here, the Wheel is depicted not just as a bringer of misfortune but also as a reminder of the transient nature of success. Boethius's work has been influential in how Western civilization conceptualizes luck and fortune.

The Wheel’s influence persisted throughout the centuries, reminding people that stability is an illusion and that change is the only constant. In literature, its representation often encouraged characters (and through them, the audience) to remain detached from material success and to maintain a steady mind in times of both joy and adversity.

Questions & Answers:

Q1: What does the Wheel of Fortune symbolize?

A) The stability of life

B) The changing nature of fortune

C) The role of kings in medieval times

D) The power of human desires

A1: B) The changing nature of fortune

Explanation: The passage explicitly states that the Wheel of Fortune represents the dynamic and unpredictable nature of life's fortunes.

Q2: Who spins the Wheel of Fortune?

A) The goddess of wisdom

B) The king

C) The goddess Fortuna

D) Humans

A2: C) The goddess Fortuna

Explanation: The passage mentions that Fortuna, the goddess of luck, spins the Wheel at random, which dictates the changes in people's fortunes.

Q3: Fill in the blank: The notion of the Wheel of Fortune was a way for people to understand the _________ nature of life.

A3: unpredictable

Explanation: The passage describes the Wheel of Fortune as a concept that helped people make sense of the unpredictability in life.

Q4: True or False: The concept of the Wheel of Fortune was only relevant in pagan cultures.

A4: False

Explanation: The passage clarifies that the Wheel of Fortune was incorporated into Christian theology during the Middle Ages, indicating its relevance beyond just pagan cultures.

Q5: Where is one of the most notable references to the Wheel of Fortune found?

A) Dante's "Inferno"

B) Boethius's "The Consolation of Philosophy"

C) Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales"

D) Shakespeare's "Macbeth"

A5: B) Boethius's "The Consolation of Philosophy"

Explanation: Boethius's work is specifically highlighted in the passage as containing a significant reference to the Wheel of Fortune.

Q6: What lesson does the Wheel of Fortune impart, according to the passage?

A) Strategic planning

B) Military prowess

C) Humility

D) Agricultural success

A6: C) Humility

Explanation: The passage indicates that the concept of the Wheel of Fortune served as a lesson in humility for people, teaching them the transient nature of success and fortune.

Q7: True or False: Stability is depicted as an illusion by the representation of the Wheel.

A7: True

Explanation: The passage states that the Wheel of Fortune reminds people that stability is an illusion and that the only constant in life is change.

Q8: Fill in the blank: Boethius's "The Consolation of Philosophy" was written in the ______ century.

A8: 6th

Explanation: The passage provides this information directly when discussing the historical context of Boethius's work.

Q9: What does the Wheel encourage individuals to maintain according to the passage?

A) Wealth

B) A steady mind

C) Physical strength

D) Political power

A9: B) A steady mind

Explanation: In literature, the Wheel of Fortune encourages characters to maintain a steady mind through all situations, whether positive or negative.

Q10: True or False: Fortuna spins the Wheel of Fortune in response to human actions.

A10: False

Explanation: The passage explains that Fortuna spins the Wheel at random, without consideration for human desires or actions.

Tips for Cracking the IELTS Reading Exam:

Tip 1: Focus on Keywords

When reading passages, identify and highlight keywords or phrases that are likely to be referenced in the questions.

Tip 2: Understand the Main Idea

Ensure you grasp the main idea of each paragraph, which can help you answer questions about the passage's overall theme or specific details.

Tip 3: Practice Skimming and Scanning

Develop the skill to skim for general meaning and scan for specific information, which can save time during the exam.

Tip 4: Be Wary of Paraphrasing

IELTS often paraphrases the information in the questions. Be prepared to recognize ideas that are expressed in different words from the passage.

Tip 5: Manage Your Time Wisely

Allocate your time efficiently across the questions. Practice pacing yourself so that you can spend an appropriate amount of time on each section.

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