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. When the play shows a king being poisoned, how does the current king, Claudius, react?

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

3. In Act 2, Scene 1, why is Ophelia frightened?

4. What is the King doing during Act 1, Scene 4?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. At the end of Act 1, Scene 5, what does Hamlet tell his friends about his future behavior?

4. 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?

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

6. When Hamlet meets Ophelia after the "To be or not to be" speech, he is polite or gentle with her at first. What happens to change his attitude? How does his attitude change? What does he say?

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

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

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

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

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

At one point, Hamlet says "Words, words, words," and while there are a lot of words in this play, people use those words to manipulate or control each other, rather than to tell each other the truth. What theme or lesson can be drawn from this play about the important of words and language? Support your thesis with examples from the text.

Essay Topic 3

In 1887, Lord Action wrote, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Do you think Shakespeare would agree? Use examples from the play to support your thesis.

(see the answer keys)

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