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

2. Who is Horatio?

3. When Polonius tries to speak with Hamlet, does Polonius really believe Hamlet is crazy?

4. In their first conversation together, what important information does Hamlet reveal to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?

5. Hamlet sees Ophelia just as he finishes the "To be or not to be" speech. How does he act when he first sees her?

Short Essay Questions

1. Polonius sends Reynaldo to Laertes with very specific instructions. What does Polonius tell Reynaldo to do, and how does Polonius tell him to do it?

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

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

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

5. In Act 3, Claudius becomes convinced that Hamlet is insane. What does he decide to do with Hamlet?

6. Early in the play, Laertes gives Ophelia advice about her love life. What does she say in response?

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

8. Once alone after the play-within-a-play, Claudius bemoans his crimes and falls to his knees in prayer. But at the end of the scene, what does he say about his praying?

9. Hamlet says "O, that this too too solid flesh would melt...." This soliloquy in Act 1, Scene 2, is the first introduction of a theme that Hamlet will talk about repeatedly in the play. What does he talk about doing or wanting to do in this soliloquy?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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