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. 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?

2. What does Hamlet say when he first hears about the ghost?

3. After Hamlet yells at Ophelia to go to a nunnery, what does she say about him?

4. Polonius gives Reynaldo very specific instructions about how to find the information he wants. What are those instructions?

5. How many times does the ghost appear in Act 1, Scene 1?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. 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?

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

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

6. 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?

7. As they watch for the ghost in Act 1, Scene 4, Hamlet and his companions hear a noise offstage. What noise do they hear and how does Hamlet explain it?

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

9. After the play-within-a-play, where is Hamlet asked to go? Who asks him to go there?

10. At the end of Act 1, Scene 1, what does Horatio say he will do next?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

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

Research the concept of "hamartia" or "tragic flaw." Write an essay in which you explain this concept and apply it to Hamlet or one of the other major characters in this play. Make sure you support your thesis with examples from the text.

(see the answer keys)

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