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 they wait for the ghost, Hamlet describes the King's nightly tradition. What does Hamlet think about this tradition?

2. Who is Horatio?

3. After telling Ophelia to get to a nunnery, what does Hamlet say about marriage?

4. After Hamlet yells at Ophelia to go to a nunnery, what does she say about him?

5. After listening to Ophelia's description of Hamlet, Polonius believes he has found the explanation for Hamlet's behavior. What does he decide to do next?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. After Polonius's death, Ophelia comes to see Gertrude. What do we learn about Ophelia in that scene?

7. 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?

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

9. In Act 2, Scene 1, how does Ophelia describe Hamlet's appearance?

10. Hamlet calls Rosencrantz and Guildenstern "a sponge." Why does he say that?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Choose a speech by any character that is at least 20 lines long. In an essay, explain the context of the speech within the play, then analyze the speech. Identify its major themes or points and discuss the use of language in the speech. Is there specific imagery used? What effect does that imagery have? Why is there a speech at that point in the text? What purpose does it serve, and why is it long instead of just a couple of lines?

Essay Topic 2

Sigmund Freud put forward the idea of the "Oedipus complex," based on the character of Oedipus from Greek tragedy. Freud also asserted that Hamlet has a serious Oedipus complex. Research the idea of the Oedipus complex and write an essay in which you do the following:

-- Explain what the Oedipus complex is.

-- State whether or not you think Hamlet has an Oedipus complex.

-- Support your view with information from the text.

Essay Topic 3

Shakespeare is well known for adding comic characters to his most serious plays. In Hamlet, these characters may include Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Osric, and the gravediggers. Choose one or two of these characters/pairs of characters. Identify how they add comic relief to the script and at what point in the action does Shakespeare include them. How is that scene changed by having humor included?

(see the answer keys)

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