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 position did Becket resign when he was made Archbishop?

3. What month does the Second Tempter say Beckett will have power?

4. How does the Second Tempter claim real power is purchased?

5. In Part One, where does the action of the play take place?

Short Essay Questions

1. Looking at the Interlude, how was the Fourth Tempter successful? How was he unsuccessful in his aims?

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

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

4. What does Becket see as being ironic about the peace God offered?

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

6. 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?

7. How does Becket believe you cannot define a martyr?

8. What is Becket's relationship to his congregation?

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

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

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

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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