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 1, Scene 3, before Laertes leaves Elsinore, Polonius gives him advice about clothes. What does Polonius say?

2. What does the ghost do to Hamlet in Act 1, Scene 4?

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

4. After Claudius and Polonius watch Hamlet interact with Ophelia in Act 3, Scene 1, what does Claudius say about Hamlet's behavior?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. In Act 2, Scene 2, Polonius talks to Hamlet. After that conversation, does Polonius think Hamlet is crazy?

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

3. Who does the Ghost in Act 1, Scene 1 look like?

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

5. 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?

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

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

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

9. 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?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Identify one or more characters as the most important "victim(s)" of this play. Who is the most unfairly punished by the sequence of events? Why?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Compare and contrast the characters of Gertrude and Ophelia, focusing on the following points:

-- To what extent is each of them a victim of what happens?

-- To what extent does each of them cause what happens?

-- Does Gertrude affect Hamlet's relationship with Ophelia? If so, how? Does Ophelia affect Hamlet's relationship with Gertrude? If so, how?

-- How do the other men in the play treat Gertrude and Ophelia? How does that contribute to our overall sense of them? Focus specifically on the ghost, Claudius, Laertes, and Polonius.

-- Does it matter that these are essentially the only two female characters in the play? Why?

(see the answer keys)

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