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. What genre of play is "Private Lives?"

2. To whom does this statement refer? "I can't bear to think I'm married to such rugged grandeur."

3. In what building does Act I take place?

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

5. Why do Amanda and Elyot choose to flee to Amanda's flat?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

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

3. What are Victor and Sibyl's attitudes on the subject of their spouses' previous marriage?

4. How does Elyot know that Amanda's statement of the two of them being in love all over again is false?

5. At the start of the play, is Elyot in love with Sibyl? How can the reader tell?

6. How can the reader interpret Amanda's statement about a person's private life?

7. 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?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"Private Lives" is known for sharp, witty dialogue. What role does the dialogue play in this story? How does it add to the plot, humor, and character development?

Essay Topic 2

Elyot claims that women are all manipulative and crafty. Do you believe that Amanda and Sibyl are particularly manipulative? If they both are manipulative, is it in the same way and to achieve the same goals? Why or why not? What is the point of the manipulations? Are Victor and Elyot manipulative as well?

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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