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 character(s) opens the play with the first monologue?

2. What does the Messenger call the relationship between the King and the Archbishop?

3. What does Becket call "the springtime fancy?"

4. What important message does the Messenger convey to the Priests?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. What is one of the more specific crimes the Knights bring up in their accusations?

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

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

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

10. What does Becket decide to do by the end of Part I?

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

There are many references to "The wheel" in Murder in the Cathedral. Much lore from Ancient Greece and the Middle ages reference the wheel when speaking of a wheel turning as a metaphor of man's fate, fortune and predestination.

1) What part does Becket believe Fate and Destiny play in the final days of his life?

2) How much of this is God's work according to Becket? What are Becket's feeling towards God's actions?

3) What do you believe? It is fate or chance that helped play out Becket's final days as illustrated in Murder in the Cathedral? Feel free to use examples from your own encounters with what you believe to be fate.

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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