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. As Claudius speaks about his guilt in Act 3, Scene 3, what does he say about repenting?

2. In Act 3, Scene 1, after they have had some time to talk to Hamlet, what do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern say about his behavior?

3. What was Ophelia doing when she was frightened by Hamlet in Act 2, Scene 1?

4. Hamlet enters about halfway through Act 3, Scene 3. When he comes in, what is Claudius doing?

5. At the end of Act 2, Scene 2, what does Hamlet reveal about his reasons for wanting the players to perform?

Short Essay Questions

1. After Laertes leaves in Act 1, Scene 3, Polonius and Ophelia have a private talk. What specific instruction or order does Polonius give Ophelia?

2. Who does the Ghost in Act 1, Scene 1 look like?

3. In Act 2, Scene 1, how does Ophelia describe Hamlet's behavior?

4. Why does Claudius claim he cannot seek forgiveness for his crimes?

5. Before Laertes leaves Elsinore, Polonius gives him a lot of advice. What does Polonius say is the most important piece of advice he can give?

6. In Act 3, Claudius becomes convinced that Hamlet is insane. What does he decide to do with Hamlet?

7. When Hamlet follows the ghost, what do his friends decide to do?

8. After hearing Ophelia describe Hamlet's behavior in Act 2, Scene 1, what does Polonius decide is the cause of Hamlet's behavior and what does he decide to do about it?

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

10. How does Hamlet act towards Ophelia during the play-within-a-play?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe how Shakespeare uses foreshadowing to prepare his audience for the very bloody end of the play. Identify specific examples from the first four acts of the script.

Essay Topic 2

Shakespeare frequently attributes disease or unhappiness in "great ones" as a sign of disease or unhappiness in an entire community. In "A Midsummer Night's Dream," for example, the entire world is out-of-whack because the king and queen of the faeries are fighting. There is no question that the "great ones" in Hamlet are diseased/unhappy. How does that unhappiness manifest itself in the rest of the country? Provide specific examples from the play to support your thesis.

Essay Topic 3

Study some of the basics of Niccolo Machiavelli's "The Prince" and apply them to the political situation in Denmark. What would Machiavelli say about Claudius? Polonius? Fortinbras? Hamlet?

(see the answer keys)

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