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 ruler of England does the Second Priest refer to as "the stubborn King?"

2. When will the First Tempter remember Becket?

3. According to the Third Tempter, what does friendship depend upon?

4. Who does the Third Tempter represent?

5. Fill in the blank: "I leave you to the pleasure of your __________, Which will have to be paid for at ______________."

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Becket believe man can "mourn and rejoice at once for the same reason?"

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

4. What is the Interlude?

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

6. What is the meaning of the urgency behind the Knight's demands upon entering the scene?

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

8. What does Becket ask his flock to remember?

9. How does the Chorus feel about Becket's return to England?

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

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 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.

(see the answer keys)

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