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. What is the first idea that Becket relates to his audience and what does he insist that the Chorus "know and do not know?"

2. How does the Third Tempter describe himself?

3. What does the First Tempter tell Becket he remembers?

4. In what year does Murder in the Cathedral take place?

5. Who states that "Power is present. Holiness hereafter?"

Short Essay Questions

1. Why is it that Becket believes a martyr is never an accident?

2. Explain what is offered by the Second Tempter and why it would appeal to Thomas Beckett

3. What are the tactics that Eliot writes into the speech of the Second Knight to persuade the audience to see their point of view?

4. How does Becket believe man can "mourn and rejoice at once for the same reason?"

5. Was Thomas Becket prepared for his temptations?

6. What might be a reason Becket chose to do this speech?

7. As Becket is being slaughtered, the Chorus speaks. What the the main idea behind their speech?

8. What is the tone of the Chorus' "death-bringers" speech after the Knights exit for the first time?

9. What does Thomas Becket do to attempt to have a safe passage back into England?

10. What is the opinion of the three priests on the subject of Becket's homecoming to Canterbury?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Choose one of the following topics:

A) Eliot uses metaphor heavily in this script, especially in comparing people to animals. Choose five examples of this in the script, cite them, and explain why you believe it was effective or ineffective to the characters and the plot as a whole.

B) Evocative imagery is a major component in the dialogue, especially when the Chorus speaks. Look at the Chorus' "death-bringer" speech (p. 66). In it, Eliot uses the idea of the five senses to create images for the reader/audience. Why would he use the five senses to aid in his imagery? Do you believe Eliot used it efficiently?

Essay Topic 2

In Part II, the Fourth Knight states that "there are times when violence is the only way social justice can be secured." They have just killed an important political figure to bring about what they perceive to be order, and they believe it to be justified.

1) Can you see the Knight's point of view on this matter? Explain why they may or may not be justified in their actions.

2) Use an important historic event that you believe parallels the Knights belief. Look at the details of such events as the 1968 Democratic National Convention or the Rodney King riots. You may even use examples of executions and the death penalty (i.e. The hanging of Saddam Hussein). Compare your example to that of the murder of Thomas Becket. Looking at your evidence, do you believe that violence can bring about a peaceful end?

Essay Topic 3

The Interlude serves the important role of allowing the reader to see Beckett's point of view on martyrdom. His sermon argues the importance of martyrs in society and why he understands God's plan in the sacrifices they have made.

1) Study Becket's arguments carefully. Does he seem absolutely certain of his own death?

2) Why does Becket feel he will prove to be a martyr to his people if he dies?

3) Why does Becket seem to accept his fate so readily?

4) Conclude why Becket chose to use his last sermon to explain his actions (i.e. accepting his fate).

(see the answer keys)

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