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 end of the first act, what does Hamlet warn his friends he might do?

2. Which two characters is Laertes related to?

3. As Hamlet and the others wait to see the ghost in Act 1, Scene 4, what do they hear in the distance?

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

5. In Act 2, Scene 2, what happens when Polonius first tries to speak to Hamlet?

Short Essay Questions

1. When Hamlet rants about love and marriage to Ophelia, he is talking about more than just his own relationship with her. What else is Hamlet talking about?

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

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

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

5. 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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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