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 chorus define its time in Canterbury since the Archbishop left seven years previous?

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

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

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

5. What is not one of the things that the Tempter describes in his flashback of the "good time" Becket used to enjoy in his service to King Henry?

Short Essay Questions

1. According to Becket, how do we define peace?

2. Why was the Fourth Tempter most effective in his temptation compared to the other three?

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

4. Why does Becket believe it is appropriate to celebrate the martyr, Stephen, the day after Christmas?

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

6. Why do the Priests continually attempt to save Becket from the Knights even after orders from him to allow fate to take its course?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 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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