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. In which country is Act I set?

2. Who says, "I think very few people are completely normal really, deep down in their private lives?"

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

4. Before Sibyl storms off the terrace in Act 1, what does Elyot tell her?

5. Where do Amanda and Victor plan to eat dinner?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

2. 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?

3. What is the significance of "Solomon Isaacs?"

4. 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?

5. 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?

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

7. 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?

8. Why does Sibyl keep asking Elyot about Amanda?

9. What would be the best way to describe the relationship between each of the married couples?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Victor and Sibyl appear to be two dimensional characters who are firmly stuck in their roles as man and woman. Do you consider these characters to be particularly intelligent? Does their intelligence or lack thereof affect their exaggerated femininity or masculinity? What are some specific examples of these characteristics? How do the other characters react to these qualities? Do you believe that these exaggerations cause their big breakdown at the very end of the play? Were they forced out of their passive roles by Amanda and Elyot's rampant challenging of how men and women are expected to act?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the genre of this play. As a comedy of manners, how does it play to the reader's expectations? How are the characters drawn within the confines of this type of play? Is the plot consistent with a comedy of manners?

Essay Topic 3

Consider the character of Louise. Why is she included in the play? What is the purpose of Sibyl and Victor not being able to understand her foreign language? What does she add to the overall arch of the play?

(see the answer keys)

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