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 Beckett believe to be the last temptation and what he fears the most?

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

3. What does the Chorus claim is their purpose in the action of the play?

4. What are the priests eager to know once the Messenger has delivered his initial message?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. How long has Thomas Becket been away from Canterbury? Why has he chosen to stay away for so long?

2. What are the tactics that Eliot writes into the speech of the Second Knight to persuade the audience to see their point of view?

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

4. What is one of Becket's rebuttals of the charges against him?

5. How does the Chorus perceive the actions of the play and its part in it?

6. How do the Four Tempters describe life?

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

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

9. What is the initial and more general accusation the Knights' hold against the Archbishop?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The three Priests have been without the Archbishop's leadership for seven years. His return is important to their spiritual well-being.

Part 1) What is the Priests' outlook on Becket's return? What is the opinion of the First Priest? The Second? The Third?

Part 2) Compare the similarities and differences between the individual opinions of the Priests and that of Becket's in regard to his return. What viewpoints do these people represent?

Part 3) Describe how Becket's return was important to these three men and how it reflects the needs of the community of Canterbury as a whole. What is his relationship to this group?

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

Look at one of T.S. Eliot's most famous poems, The Hollow Men ( Found online at http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/784/). Read it several times. Now search through Murder in the Cathedral and choose one of the Chorus' speeches. Compare and contrast Eliot's writing style, elements and themes in his works. What are some of the poetic tools Eliot repeats in his monologues? How are the rhythms the same? How are they different?

(see the answer keys)

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