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

2. What group of people does the Chorus consist of?

3. When will the First Tempter remember Becket?

4. What idea does the Fourth Tempter repeat that Beckett voiced on his first entrance?

5. What does the First Priest compare the women of Canterbury to?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. 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?

4. After the temptations, what do the Priests want Becket to do? Why?

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

6. 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?

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

8. How do the Priests define the meaning of "to-day?"

9. How do the Four Tempters describe life?

10. What does the First Tempter use to entice Thomas Becket?

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

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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