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 Becket claim is the "substance of our first act?"

2. "The wheel" is spoken of time and time again. In one instance Becket says that "Only the fool, fixed in his folly, may think he can turn the wheel on which he turns." What is the idea of a wheel supposed to symbolize?

3. According to the information in the opening monologue, how many years have passed since the Archbishop has left the city?

4. Why does Beckett believe that the local bishops would not support a power move like regaining his Chancellorship?

5. How does the Chorus describe itself?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why does the Chorus fear the "love of God?"

3. What happens when the Priests enter at the beginning of Part II to change the ambiance of the play? Do you believe it is effective?

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

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

6. What seems to be Becket's hubris that many characters mention and the Tempters attempt to play upon?

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

8. What is the opinion of the three priests on the subject of Becket's homecoming to Canterbury?

9. What does Becket ask his flock to remember?

10. After the temptations, what do the Priests want Becket to do? Why?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The Chorus seems to believe in a "Void." They believe that God's judgment will lead Becket to this Void rather than a peaceful afterlife. The Fourth Knights insists that Becket commits suicide. Using examples from the text, argue whether or not you believe that Becket's actions, which he knew would lead to murder, were justified and moral. Consider: if Becket coordinated his own death, could he still bring about the order he believes martyrdom will bring about? By the end of the play, is he still doing "the right deed for the wrong reason?"

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Choose two of the characters from the play excluding Becket. Compare and contrast the following aspects of the characters:

Part 1) Their social standing.

Part 2) Their political views.

Part 3) Their religious beliefs.

Now describe how these traits affect their opinion of Becket and his actions in the play. How are their opinions different? How are they similar?

(see the answer keys)

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