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 many visitors did Beckett expect?

2. What, according to the First Tempter, "should be more than biting Time can sever?"

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

4. What doesn't the Third Priest see in "the art of temporal government?"

5. After the first scene featuring the three Priests, the Chorus speaks again. What do they wish the Archbishop to do?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. How does the Chorus feel about Becket's return to England?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

From the moment the play opens, there is an ominous approaching event that culminates in the murder of Thomas Becket. Throughout the play, several characters continue to foreshadow Becket's murder, including Becket himself.

1) Cite several examples of foreshadowing from the text and describe the importance of this as a tool of the plot and the building of characters.

2) Do you believe that knowing about the death of Thomas Becket from the beginning lessens the effectiveness of the climax or strengthens it? Do you believe Eliot's choice made Murder in the Cathedral an effective story?

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

Fear is a powerful tool that many characters in the play use to get what they want. The last word comes from the Chorus which states that it fears the love of God. How is fear used in the play? 1) Choose instances in which characters express fear and describe what are they afraid of. Is Eliot trying to make a social point, or is it something more simple?

2) Choose an example of something you've witnessed in your own life in which you or someone else was too afraid to act. It may be from a social situation, religious or political dominance, etc. Compare it to Eliot's examples.

(see the answer keys)

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