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 asks Hamlet to sit nearby during the play? Who does Hamlet prefer to sit with?

2. The tone of the conversation between Hamlet and Ophelia in Act 3, Scene 1 changes abruptly when Ophelia does what?

3. During their first conversation, what does the ghost tell Hamlet about his mother?

4. What country did the late King go to battle against?

5. Before the play is performed, Hamlet has a long conversation with the First Player. What is he telling the Player?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

3. In Act 2, Scene 2, Polonius talks to Hamlet. After that conversation, does Polonius think Hamlet is crazy?

4. What is the point or theme of Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech?

5. What does Hamlet ask Horatio to do during the play-within-a-play?

6. Laertes and Polonius are both concerned about Ophelia's romance. In Act 1, Scene 3, what do they tell her?

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

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

9. During Hamlet's first conversation with the ghost, the ghost asks for revenge. Who does the ghost want revenge on and why?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare and contrast the characters of Gertrude and Ophelia, focusing on the following points:

-- To what extent is each of them a victim of what happens?

-- To what extent does each of them cause what happens?

-- Does Gertrude affect Hamlet's relationship with Ophelia? If so, how? Does Ophelia affect Hamlet's relationship with Gertrude? If so, how?

-- How do the other men in the play treat Gertrude and Ophelia? How does that contribute to our overall sense of them? Focus specifically on the ghost, Claudius, Laertes, and Polonius.

-- Does it matter that these are essentially the only two female characters in the play? Why?

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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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