The Shakespeare Test

A few years ago, I was playing around on a site that lets you create customized multiple-choice tests. I recently dug this up.

The Shakespeare Test

Which one of these is NOT a character from “Hamlet”?

  • Quatermain
  • Guildenstern
  • Fortinbras
  • Rozencrantz

In which of these couples do both parties survive to the end of a play?

  • Hamlet and Ophelia
  • Othello and Desdemona
  • Leontes and Hermione
  • Caesar and Portia

The best porn is literary porn, and the best of literary porn is Shakespeare porn. Which one of these is NOT a plausible name for a porno based on a Shakespeare play title?

  • “All’s Well That Hangs Well”
  • “The Merchant of Penis”
  • “Tight-ass Eroticus”
  • “King Her-Rod”

Same question again. Which one isn’t a good title for Shakespeare porn?

  • “As You Lick It”
  • “Seven Bitches of Athens”
  • “Love Slavers Lost”
  • “Coriol’s Anus”

The plot of “Hamlet” features a corruptible man who murders a king who trusted him, in order to secure the throne for himself, but is later killed in revenge. Which other Shakespeare play contains the same plot elements?

  • “Macbeth”
  • “Henry V”
  • “Richard III”
  • “Julius Caesar”

Which of these has served as a setting for a Shakespeare play?

  • Berkshire
  • Bohemia
  • Bahamas
  • Bangladesh

“Something is rotten in the state of ____”

  • man
  • affairs
  • Denmark
  • New Jersey

Which of these literary titles was based on a Shakespeare quote?

  • “I, Claudius”
  • “The Doors of Perception”
  • “The Winter of Our Discontent”
  • “Inherit the Wind”

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not within our stars but in ____”

  • our gods
  • our past
  • ourselves
  • my soup

Which classic science fiction movie was loosely based on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”?

  • “Forbidden Planet”
  • “Destination Moon”
  • “The Day the Earth Stood Still”
  • “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”

“If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not____?”

  • revenge
  • appeal
  • cry
  • fight

Which one is a Shakespeare quote?

  • “She doth posess a twilight tinge of blue.”
  • “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
  • “Was this the face that launched a thousand ships?”
  • “Frailty, thy name is woman!”

“Cry, ‘Havoc!’ and let slip ___”

  • the arms of might
  • the dogs of war
  • the witch’s teat
  • a mighty wind

Which actor has never played Hamlet in a film?

  • Ethan Hawke
  • Mel Gibson
  • Richard Burton
  • Jude Law

Shakespeare was from

  • London
  • Liverpool
  • Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Manchester

Which Shakespeare play features faires?

  • “Much Ado About Nothing”
  • “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
  • “Twelfth Night”
  • the whole damn lot of them

Which name does NOT appear in a title of a Shakespeare play?

  • Windsor
  • Patroclus
  • Troilus
  • Cymbeline

In “Richard III”, the main character is afflicted with

  • leprosy
  • blindness
  • a hump
  • a giant schlong

Shakespeare is famous for writing in the

  • trochaic monometer
  • iambic pentameter
  • dactylic hexameter
  • third trimester

King Lear had two selfish daughters. One of them had a name that sounded similar to a sexually-transmitted disease, while the other had a name that was similar to the name of a US President. What disease and what president?

  • Syphilis and Harding
  • Hepatitis and Hayes
  • Chlamydia and Clinton
  • Gonnorhea and Reagan


A dense line of trucks signals our approach to the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border. All the names and logos on the sides of the trucks are familiar. Dole. Chiquita. All headed north — a few more days and a few thousand miles, and these will all end up in my local supermarket. Wedged in between the giant containers of bananas and citrus is our taxi — me and Maggie and our driver, who is ferrying us to la frontera.

Even before the taxi comes to a complete stop, a bunch of men have surrounded us, all yelling in Spanish. One has stuck his head inside the car and is gesticulating wildly. The funny thing about Nicaragua is that even people who earn their living from the mostly English-speaking tourists don’t actually speak English. Whether that reflects an attitude of the people or just the fact that Nicaragua’s tourism industry can only be described as “nascent” is fodder for debate.

The yelling men, turn out, are offering to help us across the border. I pay the driver and snort derisively at the men, curtly no, gracias-ing them away — how hard can it really be to cross the border? I grab my bag and confidently start walking, whereupon one of the men points out that I’m going the wrong way. Less confidently, I turn around and enter the Nicaraguan immigration control area. I am immediately confused where to go next. I grit my teeth and let the guy who called out to me guide us through the process of getting our Nicaraguan exit stamps in our passports.

Within ten minutes, we have the stamps and I hand my leftover Nicaraguan cordobas to the man, whose barely-hidden glee tells me that I’ve wildly overpaid for his services. He points us towards the Costa Rican side and ambles off.

On the Costa Rican side, there are no screaming men trying to earn a few bucks by guiding us through immigration control. Somehow, I figure out which direction to walk, and soon enough Maggie and I are standing beyond the fences, officially in Costa Rica.

There are two buses going from the border — the tourist bus ($12) and the local bus ($6). After determining that the local one is not, at that very moment, on fire, I pick the cheaper option, which turns out to be surprisingly comfortable. The downside of the local bus, however, quickly becomes apparent, as the bus is stopped approximately every five minutes at police checkpoints. At every one, a policeman boards the bus to check everyone’s passports. At the first few checkpoints, the police, seeing our blue USA passport jackets, don’t even bother checking them and pass us by, but at the third one, the policeman actually takes our passports and flips through them.

As he does so, his expression grows puzzled. Even before he asks the question, I realize the problem. We don’t actually have any entry stamps for Costa Rica. With the absence of a guide, I clearly got confused and somehow completely bypassed Costa Rican immigration controls. I try to explain it to the policeman in my broken Spanish. I can see the indecision in his face as he debates with himself what to do with us. Finally, reaching the decision that his life will be easier if he makes it someone else’s problem, he shrugs, tells us that we’ll have a problema with immigration control later, and gets off the bus.

Maggie and I exchange looks. Here we are. In Costa Rica. Illegally.

Scenes from Nicaragua

The chicken bus bounces jarringly down the unpaved dusty Nicaraguan road — less a road than a rut — lush greenery and rust-colored shacks of Ometepe island scrolling by the window. Passengers and sacks of fertilizer heaped at the back of the bus bounce and sway rhythmically with every dip and hump.

Thanks to joke of the road and having to stop every few minutes to pick up or drop off passengers, we have covered approximately four kilometers in the last hour. At this stop, a little boy, aged maybe 9, clambers onto the back of the bus, a bright blue school backpack slung across his shoulders. The bus lurches into motion again. Within a few seconds, we hear loud barking. A mutt is running behind the bus, yapping loudly in that rather annoying way that smallish dogs do. The dog chases the bus, then overtakes it on the right side, barking incessantly, then moves to the left side. Thanks to the bus’s speed, there is no danger of us leaving the dog behind.

The dog keeps barking. An animated discussion ensues between the bus passengers and the bus driver. It goes on for a minute and then, consensus having been reached, the bus stops. All the fifty or so passengers wait as the little boy gets off the bus. The dog bounds up to him and winds itself around his legs, jumping up as he hugs it. He bends down and says something to the dog, strokes its fur, then pushes it away and climbs back on the bus as the dog turns and trots back down the road from where he came. The bus starts groaning down the road again.

Within seconds, the dog is back, barking as insistently as ever. Someone opens the back door to the bus and motions for the dog to jump aboard, but the dog doesn’t. We creep along, the dog following,¬†occasionally¬†overtaking the bus, running from window to window, barking at each one. I start wondering how long the dog can keep this up. The answer, apparently, is a while.

After another twenty minutes or so, the little boy gets off and the dog, tongue flopping out of his open mouth, once again rubs up against him, finally shutting up. Together, they set off down a perpendicular road as the bus starts going again. Two more hours to go.