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. According to the Chorus, what does the Archbishop bring into Canterbury?

2. What does the Messenger call the relationship between the King and the Archbishop?

3. What is not one of the ways the Chorus, the priests and the Tempters describe an unexpected death?

4. Why does Beckett believe that the local bishops would not support a power move like regaining his Chancellorship?

5. What does Becket claim is the "substance of our first act?"

Short Essay Questions

1. After the temptations, what do the Chorus want Becket to do? Why?

2. What is special about the day the Interlude takes place?

3. What does Becket mean when he states to the Priests, "The moment foreseen may be unexpected when it arrives?"

4. Why does the Third Tempter state that joining forces with the barony would be a good idea?

5. How does Becket get the Priests to unbar the door and allow the Knights to enter?

6. Why might Becket pointedly ask the congregation to remember his words?

7. Why would Becket say this is his last sermon?

8. Why does Becket tell the Chorus to be at peace as they lament and ask for forgiveness?

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

10. In his address to the audience, the Third Knight claims that they are "perfectly disinterested." What does he mean?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The Interlude is the sermon Becket gives on Christmas Day. He says it may be his last.

1) Who is this sermon directed to? What is his relationship to them?

2) What is the main argument of his speech and what are the points that lead up to his conclusion?

3) What is the purpose of this final sermon? What does he want from the audience? How does he make it an effective speech?

Essay Topic 2

There are many references to "The wheel" in Murder in the Cathedral. Much lore from Ancient Greece and the Middle ages reference the wheel when speaking of a wheel turning as a metaphor of man's fate, fortune and predestination.

1) What part does Becket believe Fate and Destiny play in the final days of his life?

2) How much of this is God's work according to Becket? What are Becket's feeling towards God's actions?

3) What do you believe? It is fate or chance that helped play out Becket's final days as illustrated in Murder in the Cathedral? Feel free to use examples from your own encounters with what you believe to be fate.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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