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. At the beginning of Act 2, what does Polonius ask Reynaldo to find out?

2. Hamlet makes an ominous statement about married people: "those that are married already, all but one, shall live." What does that mean and who is he talking about?

3. What does Hamlet mean when he says "I will speak daggers to her, but use none."

4. What message do the ambassadors bring Claudius back from Norway?

5. How does Horatio describe the ghost to Hamlet?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

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

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

5. Does the Ghost at the beginning of the play talk to the watchers?

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

7. What is the setting (time and place) at the beginning of the day?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

Choose a relatively minor character, such as Horatio, and make an argument about why that character is vital to the plot and themes of Hamlet. Choose wisely; some characters will make this essay easier than others.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the use of irony, dramatic and otherwise, throughout the play. How does Shakespeare use irony to make his scenes more effective?

(see the answer keys)

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