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. Who are the first two characters who speak of "the wheel" on separate occasions?

2. 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?

3. What is the first action that the Second Priest wants to take to welcome the Archbishop back to Canterbury?

4. What is one thing the Third Tempter and his party want from Beckett?

5. What position did Becket resign when he was made Archbishop?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is special about the day the Interlude takes place?

2. What is the opinion of the Messenger of the relationship between the King and the Archbishop?

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

4. Taking into consideration the many opportunities to escape his fate, his many followers begging him to change course, and Becket's own prideful nature, why would Becket choose the path of martyrdom?

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

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

7. In his address to the audience, the Third Knight claims that they are "perfectly disinterested." What does he mean?

8. Why does Becket fear that giving into the Fourth Tempter would be doing "the right deed for the wrong reason?"

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The play centers around the struggle between King Henry and the Archbishop Thomas Becket. How does the struggle between spiritual power and secular power represent the battle between the King and the Archbishop? Describe a personal or national issue in which you saw a struggle between religion and politics.

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

In Part II, the Fourth Knight states that "there are times when violence is the only way social justice can be secured." They have just killed an important political figure to bring about what they perceive to be order, and they believe it to be justified.

1) Can you see the Knight's point of view on this matter? Explain why they may or may not be justified in their actions.

2) Use an important historic event that you believe parallels the Knights belief. Look at the details of such events as the 1968 Democratic National Convention or the Rodney King riots. You may even use examples of executions and the death penalty (i.e. The hanging of Saddam Hussein). Compare your example to that of the murder of Thomas Becket. Looking at your evidence, do you believe that violence can bring about a peaceful end?

(see the answer keys)

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