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 was Ophelia doing when she was frightened by Hamlet in Act 2, Scene 1?

2. After hearing Ophelia's description of Hamlet, what reason does Polonius suggest for Hamlet's strange behavior?

3. 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?

4. What time of day is it in Act 1, Scene 4?

5. Claudius says his crime "hath the primal eldest curse upon't." What does he mean?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Hamlet not kill Claudius when he finds Claudius alone in Act 3?

2. Before Laertes leaves Elsinore, Polonius gives him a lot of advice. What does Polonius say is the most important piece of advice he can give?

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

4. In Act 4, Scene 3, what does Claudius reveal to the audience about his plans for Hamlet in England?

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

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

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

8. How does Claudius react to the play-within-a-play?

9. As Hamlet travels to the boat for England, what or who does Hamlet find on a plain in Denmark?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Study some of the basics of Niccolo Machiavelli's "The Prince" and apply them to the political situation in Denmark. What would Machiavelli say about Claudius? Polonius? Fortinbras? Hamlet?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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.

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