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 can Sibyl do that Amanda cannot?

2. What does Amanda do when she realizes Elyot is in the hotel?

3. Which character says, "Love is no use unless it's wise, and kind, and undramatic?"

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

5. What does Elyot tell Amanda before he tries to leave the terrace?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

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 does Elyot's pastime of traveling the world imply about his character?

4. 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?

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

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

8. Why does Sibyl keep asking Elyot about Amanda?

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

10. 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?

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

The four main characters of this play are all from England, though the play itself is set in France. What is the purpose of setting the play in two different locations in France? Would it have changed the play to be set in a different country, including the one native to the characters?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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