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. After the play, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Claudius meet to discuss Hamlet. Polonius joins them. What does he tell Claudius?

2. Polonius asks Claudius to arrange for Hamlet to go somewhere after the play's performance. Where is Hamlet supposed to go?

3. Which two characters is Laertes related to?

4. Does Hamlet think the ghost can harm him?

5. After the ambassadors have left, what piece of writing does Polonius share with Claudius and Gertrude?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

7. When Hamlet first sees the ghost, he tries to talk to it. How does the ghost respond?

8. What does Claudius learn about Norway when the Ambassadors he sent at the beginning of the play return?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the use of irony, dramatic and otherwise, throughout the play. How does Shakespeare use irony to make his scenes more effective?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

The question of suicide comes up repeatedly in the play. Hamlet mentions it on multiple occasions and Ophelia's death is potentially a suicide and questionable enough that her funeral rites are "maimed." Discuss the play's treatment of suicide, focusing on the following points:

-- How is suicide presented? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

-- Are there universal truths about death and suicide, as Hamlet seems to suggest in the "To be or not to be" speech? Or does the play contradict that by adding in Ophelia's suicide?

-- Do you think Ophelia does commit suicide? Why or why not?

-- Do you think Hamlet is essentially committing suicide at the end of the play? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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