Murder in the Cathedral 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. How does the structure of the dialogue change during Becket's first temptation?

2. What ruler of England does the Second Priest refer to as "the stubborn King?"

3. What month does the Second Tempter say Beckett will have power?

4. What is it that the Second Tempter offers Becket?

5. Finish the thought of the First Tempter: "A man will often love what he ______."

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the Interlude?

2. What happens when the Priests enter at the beginning of Part II to change the ambiance of the play? Do you believe it is effective?

3. Why does Becket fear that giving into the Fourth Tempter would be doing "the right deed for the wrong reason?"

4. According to Becket, how do we define peace?

5. How do the Knights taunt Becket upon their entrance into the Cathedral?

6. What is a method that Becket uses to outline his sermon in the Interlude?

7. Was Thomas Becket prepared for his temptations?

8. Taking into consideration the many opportunities to escape his fate, his many followers begging him to change course, and Becket's own prideful nature, why would Becket choose the path of martyrdom?

9. Why does the Chorus fear the "love of God?"

10. Describe how the town of Canterbury feels about Becket's return and why.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

There are many references to the broken relationship between Becket and King Henry II. What was their personal and political relationship like before their falling out? What were Becket's crimes against the monarchy, and what did Henry do to instigate them? What has their relationship consisted of since Becket returned to England? How have they changed? Use examples from the text to back your assertions.

a) Using what you know about the two characters, whose side would you back based on your own political and spiritual outlook? Why?

Essay Topic 2

Becket once enjoyed the perks of exercising power in a major political office. One of Becket's major vices is his pride. By his entrance into the world of Murder in the Cathedral, Becket forgoes secular power to the power of the Church's law, the law of the Pope and the law of God. A major theme throughout Murder in the Cathedral is the Battle between the church and the state.

1) Using examples from the text, how did King Henry II and Thomas Becket conjoin politics and religion? How effective were their actions?

2) Historically, what are some examples of the politics of government interfering in the affairs of the church (and vice versa)? Compare these examples to the themes of the play.

Essay Topic 3

The Chorus seems to believe in a "Void." They believe that God's judgment will lead Becket to this Void rather than a peaceful afterlife. The Fourth Knights insists that Becket commits suicide. Using examples from the text, argue whether or not you believe that Becket's actions, which he knew would lead to murder, were justified and moral. Consider: if Becket coordinated his own death, could he still bring about the order he believes martyrdom will bring about? By the end of the play, is he still doing "the right deed for the wrong reason?"

(see the answer keys)

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