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. After welcoming them to Elsinore, what does Claudius ask Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to do?

2. What time of day is it in Act 1, Scene 4?

3. In Act 1, Scene 2, what two events does Claudius describe?

4. After watching the players give a speech about Hecuba and Priam, what does Hamlet say impresses him the most?

5. Who does the ghost in Act 1, Scene 1 look like?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

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

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

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

6. After talking to the ghost at the end of Act 1, what does Hamlet decide to do about his father's death?

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

8. After the play-within-a-play, where is Hamlet asked to go? Who asks him to go there?

9. What is the setting (time and place) of Act 1, Scene 4?

10. The first time Claudius appears on stage, he gives a speech describing the current state of affairs in Denmark. He identifies and explains three major events. What are those events?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

At the start of the play, Hamlet is mourning his father's death and his mother's hasty re-marriage. It is hard to remember, sometimes, that Hamlet has actually lost something else quite valuable: the throne. Hamlet never consistently expresses unhappiness at losing the throne, though he is reassured he can have it after Claudius's death. How would the play be different if Hamlet wanted to kill Claudius to gain control of the kingdom?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

The play focuses a lot on death. There is the death of the old king and Hamlet's "excessive" mourning. There is the appearance of the ghost and its description of the afterlife. There is Hamlet's obsession with suicide and Ophelia's apparent suicide. There is the entire graveyard scene, with its varied perspectives on death. Shakespeare puts forth many different perspectives on this topic in the play. Choose one belief or perspective that is presented in the play; explain it and identify two or three instances in the play where that belief is supported or represented.

(see the answer keys)

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