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 Prince of Norway's name?

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

3. What does Hamlet ask Horatio to do during the play's performance?

4. Early in Act 2, Polonius believes he has found the cause of Hamlet's behavior. What is the first thing he does to test his theory?

5. Who is Horatio?

Short Essay Questions

1. Claudius tells Laertes that Hamlet is responsible for Polonius's death. Claudius says that there are two reasons why he cannot have Hamlet publicly arrested and punished. What are those two reasons?

2. After hearing Ophelia describe Hamlet's behavior in Act 2, Scene 1, what does Polonius decide is the cause of Hamlet's behavior and what does he decide to do about it?

3. How does Hamlet avoid going to England?

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

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. When Hamlet hears about Fortinbras and his attacks on Poland, what does he say about Fortinbras and about himself?

7. After Polonius's death, what does Gertrude tell Claudius about Hamlet?

8. Hamlet finally confronts his mother in Act 3, Scene 4, speaking harshly to her as he tries to force her to realize her own complicity in the crime. What happens to change his tone?

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

10. Why does Claudius claim he cannot seek forgiveness for his crimes?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Choose a relatively minor character, such as Horatio, and make an argument about why that character is vital to the plot and themes of Hamlet. Choose wisely; some characters will make this essay easier than others.

Essay Topic 2

At the start of the play, Hamlet is mourning his father's death and his mother's hasty re-marriage. It is hard to remember, sometimes, that Hamlet has actually lost something else quite valuable: the throne. Hamlet never consistently expresses unhappiness at losing the throne, though he is reassured he can have it after Claudius's death. How would the play be different if Hamlet wanted to kill Claudius to gain control of the kingdom?

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.

(see the answer keys)

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