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 does Hamlet say when he first hears about the ghost?

2. After hearing about Hamlet's strange behavior, what does Polonius say about his own decisions?

3. In Act 2, Scene 2, what happens when Polonius first tries to speak to Hamlet?

4. After his first meeting with the ghost, what does Hamlet ask his friends to do?

5. In Act 3, Scene 1, after they have had some time to talk to Hamlet, what do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern say about his behavior?

Short Essay Questions

1. Does the Ghost at the beginning of the play talk to the watchers?

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

3. 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?

4. After the play-within-a-play, Claudius meets with Hamlet's old friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Who are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern loyal to? How can you tell?

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. 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?

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

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

9. Laertes and Polonius are both concerned about Ophelia's romance. In Act 1, Scene 3, what do they tell her?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

At one point, Hamlet says "Words, words, words," and while there are a lot of words in this play, people use those words to manipulate or control each other, rather than to tell each other the truth. What theme or lesson can be drawn from this play about the important of words and language? Support your thesis with examples from the text.

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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