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. What is the main idea of Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech?

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

3. At the end of Act 1, Scene 1, what does Horatio say he intends to do?

4. When Hamlet first sees the ghost, what does he call it?

5. In Act 2, Scene 1, what does Ophelia say about Hamlet's clothes?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. In Act 4, Scene 5, Claudius is almost overthrown by a violent mob. Who does the mob want to be king in his place?

5. Who is the first person in Elsinore to find out that Hamlet is on his way back to Denmark instead of going to England? How does that person find out?

6. Who does the ghost tell Hamlet NOT to seek revenge on?

7. How does Hamlet suggest that Claudius and his servants might find Polonius's body?

8. When Hamlet follows the ghost, what do his friends decide to do?

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

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

The play focuses a lot on death. There is the death of the old king and Hamlet's "excessive" mourning. There is the appearance of the ghost and its description of the afterlife. There is Hamlet's obsession with suicide and Ophelia's apparent suicide. There is the entire graveyard scene, with its varied perspectives on death. Shakespeare puts forth many different perspectives on this topic in the play. Choose one belief or perspective that is presented in the play; explain it and identify two or three instances in the play where that belief is supported or represented.

Essay Topic 2

There are so many characters in a Shakespeare play that it is sometimes easy to lose track of them. Find a scene in which an important character is mostly silent -- for example, the scene where Polonius and Claudius spy on Hamlet and Ophelia. Why is that character still in the scene? How is the audience's sense of the scene changed by knowing that character is present? How does the character make its silent presence felt?

Essay Topic 3

Is Hamlet really crazy? Take a stand on this topic and support your stance with specific examples from throughout the text.

(see the answer keys)

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