Hamlet Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Who is Ophelia in love with?

2. What does Hamlet learn about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's reasons for visiting Elsinore?

3. What does Hamlet ask Horatio to do during the play's performance?

4. Hamlet is delighted that the players, a group of traveling actors, are at Elsinore. He welcomes them and asks them for two favors. What are those two favors?

5. After the ambassadors have left, what piece of writing does Polonius share with Claudius and Gertrude?

Short Essay Questions

1. Once alone after the play-within-a-play, Claudius bemoans his crimes and falls to his knees in prayer. But at the end of the scene, what does he say about his praying?

2. After his first speech in the play, Claudius shifts from talking about the country to talking specifically about Hamlet. What does he say about Hamlet's grief? What does Gertrude say?

3. How does Claudius react to the play-within-a-play?

4. Who are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and why do they go to Elsinore?

5. After the play-within-a-play, Claudius meets with Hamlet's old friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Who are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern loyal to? How can you tell?

6. Hamlet says "O, that this too too solid flesh would melt...." This soliloquy in Act 1, Scene 2, is the first introduction of a theme that Hamlet will talk about repeatedly in the play. What does he talk about doing or wanting to do in this soliloquy?

7. In Act 2, Scene 2, what play does Hamlet ask the players to perform and why?

8. Polonius sends Reynaldo to Laertes with very specific instructions. What does Polonius tell Reynaldo to do, and how does Polonius tell him to do it?

9. Early in the play, Laertes gives Ophelia advice about her love life. What does she say in response?

10. When Hamlet first sees the ghost, he tries to talk to it. How does the ghost respond?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Choose a speech by any character that is at least 20 lines long. In an essay, explain the context of the speech within the play, then analyze the speech. Identify its major themes or points and discuss the use of language in the speech. Is there specific imagery used? What effect does that imagery have? Why is there a speech at that point in the text? What purpose does it serve, and why is it long instead of just a couple of lines?

Essay Topic 2

One of the major themes in the play is connected to ears, hearing, and trusting what you hear. Identify one or two important moments in each act when that theme comes up. Explain the moment, why it is important, and how it contributes to the overall theme.

Essay Topic 3

In the play we see both soliloquies (someone talking to themselves or the audience) and monologues (a single character talking to other characters). Compare and contrast the soliloquies and monologues of a single character. How is Claudius different in monologue than in soliloquy? How is Hamlet different? What is Shakespeare saying about the character's ability to be honest with him/herself and with others?

(see the answer keys)

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