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. Before he returns to school, what does Laertes tell Ophelia about her boyfriend?

2. After telling Ophelia to get to a nunnery, what does Hamlet say about marriage?

3. Who asks Hamlet to sit nearby during the play? Who does Hamlet prefer to sit with?

4. As they wait for the ghost, Hamlet describes the King's nightly tradition. What does Hamlet think about this tradition?

5. During "The Mousetrap," Gertrude says, "The lady protests too much, methinks." What is she talking about?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

7. When Hamlet meets Ophelia after the "To be or not to be" speech, he is polite or gentle with her at first. What happens to change his attitude? How does his attitude change? What does he say?

8. Hamlet says "O, that this too too solid flesh would melt...." This soliloquy in Act 1, Scene 2, is the first introduction of a theme that Hamlet will talk about repeatedly in the play. What does he talk about doing or wanting to do in this soliloquy?

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

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

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 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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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