Private Lives 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. When fighting with Sibyl, what does Elyot say infuriates him more than anything?

2. According to Amanda, what did her and Elyot's love do to their relationship?

3. What does Amanda say they must do before they leave for Paris?

4. What genre of play is "Private Lives?"

5. Where do Elyot and Sibyl plan to eat dinner?

Short Essay Questions

1. Victor and Sibyl both use nicknames for Amanda and Elyot (Mandy and Elli), though Amanda and Elyot always refer to each other by their full names. What is the significance of the use of nicknames in regards to these four characters?

2. To Sibyl's dismay, Elyot does not care for her mother and believes that Sibyl married him in part to escape her. What do the differing attitudes about the mother reveal about Sibyl's character?

3. Why do Elyot and Amanda both lie to their spouses about the reasons they should leave the hotel instead of just telling the truth?

4. Elyot remarks to Sibyl that, "Apart from loving me and all that, you must have plans." What does he mean by that and why would he accuse Sibyl of it?

5. Amanda describes her marriage to Elyot as, "two violent acids bubbling about in a nasty little matrimonial bottle." Why would she use those words and what images do they provoke?

6. In Act I, Amanda proclaims to Victor that women should hold some mystery. Later, Elyot tells her that she holds no mystery for him and she responds that she is glad. Why?

7. What is Amanda's outlook on the violence in her previous marriage that is so shocking to Victor?

8. Why would Victor say to Amanda that she was frightening him?

9. When discussing the possibility of getting a sunburn, Amanda remarks to Victor, "I did so hope our honeymoon was going to be progressive" in response to his declaration that he could not love her anymore than he already does. What does this statement portend about Amanda's views on relationships, particularly her marriage to Victor?

10. When Elyot implores Sibyl that they must leave the hotel, Sibyl is uncharacteristically firm and stubborn about staying. What happened throughout the act that may have given her more of a backbone?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

When Victor is questioning Amanda in Act III, she claims that she hates Elyot, though she is deeply attracted to him. Does Amanda truly hate Elyot? Can she hate him and have an attraction? How? Keep in mind how loving she and Elyot are to each other, including the fact that they make up and leave together at the end.

Essay Topic 2

The stage directions and dialogue are very direct with how the characters should look. Discuss the physical characteristics, clothing, and age of each character and how it reflects upon each character. Why is it important that Sibyl is seven years younger than Elyot or that Victor is in his mid-thirties? What about the difference in costuming between Amanda and Sibyl? How do the characters appear to each other?

Essay Topic 3

Amanda's speech about a person's private life sums up one of the themes of the play. What would happen if Amanda and Elyot behaved with everyone else as they do with each other? Would they be as successful in life as they appear to be? Would anyone have wanted to marry either of them again? Do you believe this? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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