Cup of Gold - Essay Study Questions

  1. Map of North WalesDescribe Henry's personality before he decides to leave home for his adventure.  How do his character traits influence his decision to leave home to become an adventurer on the open seas?  Does Henry's character evolve or remain static by the end of the novel?

  2. In Chapter One, describe the events that lead Henry to choose a life of buccaneering as his profession.  What influences cause this decision to become the focus of his life?  Explain.

  3. Describe several of Henry's encounters with "people of the world outside his village," and give details as to how these people and/or events influence Henry and his quest to be a buccaneer.

  4. Describe Henry's work assignment on the Flower Plantation.  In what ways is this assignment beneficial to both James Flower and to Young Henry?  What does Henry's treatment of the slaves reveal about his character?

  5. As Henry's servitude continues on the plantation, Henry finally decides the true underlying motivation for his life.  What are Henry's aspirations and how does he plan to use the knowledge and skills he learned from James Flower to help make this vision come true?  Explain.

  6. Describe the initial meeting between Henry and his uncle, Sir Edward.  What offer does Henry make to his uncle?  Describe Sir Edward's reaction to Henry's proposal.  Is Sir Edward's reaction to Henry justified?  Defend your position.   

  7. Henry continues to gain notoriety and fame as a sea captain when he meets Coeur de Gris.  Describe their friendship and explain what bonds the men in a deeper way than any of Morgan's previous comrades.  Are Morgan and Coeur de Gris really true friends?  Explain.

  8. Both Henry and Coeur de Gris decide to venture toward Panama, seeking to capture the city and the heart of La Santa Roja.  Describe how each man feels about this beautiful woman and the circumstances that drive them to continue on their quest to find her.

  9. What shocking news does Henry receive about his uncle, Sir Edward?  Describe how this news affects Henry and explain how this turn of events will be influential to Henry's future.

  10. Describe the tragic death of Coeur de Gris.  Why did it happen and how does Henry respond to his friend's untimely death?

  11. Describe Ysobel.  In what ways does Henry's actual meeting with her differ from the one Henry has dreamed about for so long?  What does the meeting reveal about Henry's expectations of himself and life and reality? Explain your answer.

  12. At this point in the novel, Henry finally "fulfills his ultimate dream and wins control of the Cup of Gold."  Describe how Henry feels about his accomplishments.  Has Henry developed any regrets about his journey and his life? Explain your thoughts and reasoning.

  13. After Henry conquers the Cup of Gold and returns with his men to the beach, describe the events that lead to Henry's "surprise" for all his men.  What do Henry's actions reveal about the corruption of his character?

  14. Describe the relationship between Henry and King Charles II.  Describe the advantages on both sides when they choose to join forces and work together.  What changes have occurred in Henry's perspective and goals which allow for such an alliance?                                    

  15. After many years, Henry sees the Spanish Burgundians again.  Describe their meeting and discuss the ironies that have occurred during the course of their relationship.  How are readers intended to judge Henry's condemnation of his former comrades? 

  16. Describe the prophecies foretold to Henry by Gwenliana and Merlin. In what ways were these visions accurate and in what ways did these imaginings differ from the life he lived?  Explain your answer. 

  17. Compare and contrast Henry's relationship with Young Elizabeth, Paulette, La Santa Roja, and his cousin Elizabeth.  What do these relationships reveal about Henry's attitude toward and treatment of women?

  18. Compare the course of Henry's life to his father's.  In what ways is Henry's fate both similar to and/or different from his father's?

  19. Cup of Gold is permeated with images of violence and cruelty.  Describe some of the brutalities in the novel and explain what they suggest about the nature of humanity.Describe the character of Henry at the end of the book.  In what ways has he changed and/or remained the same over the course of his life?  Explain your answer.


Setting | Character Summaries | Plot Synopsis | Reception
Cultural References | Key Terms and Concepts