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 Fourth Tempter claim Beckett can have ultimate glory and power over the King of England?

2. What does Beckett claim the Fourth Tempter offers?

3. What does the Second Tempter tell Beckett he will be like if he continues on course?

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

5. How does the structure of the dialogue change during Becket's first temptation?

Short Essay Questions

1. At the beginning of Part II, how does the Chorus describe the oncoming Spring? What do you think Eliot intended it to relay the audience?

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

3. Before Becket is dragged to the altar by the Three Priests, he seems at peace. How is this possible?

4. What story does Becket tell about Christmas Day? Why is it important?

5. What is one of the more specific crimes the Knights bring up in their accusations?

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

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

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

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

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

Becket believes that his death will ultimately bring good to the public, the church, and his own spiritual well-being.

1) Cite several instances in which Becket or another character argue for the choice of martyrdom. Define what Becket's modus operandi is in allowing his own murder

2) Looking at the way his followers reacted to his death, were Becket's goals achieved?

3) Think of another historic figure that you consider a martyr (i.e. Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr.). Compare that person with Becket.

4) For you, what truly defines a martyr? How does the death of one person catalyze social change?

5) Do you believe there are the moral implications to celebrating death in such a way?

Essay Topic 2

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 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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