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Sonnet 1: Why is this sonnet considered one of the "young man" sonnets? What is a "young man" sonnet in Shakespeare's collection? According to the speaker, what is this young man like whom he addresses in terms of physical attributes? In terms of personality? In line #1, what is it that he claims we want from the most beautiful creatures? Why do we want that, and why is it important given that "the riper should by time decease" [or in some texts, decrease.?] What is the yong man "contracted" to? When the poet says the young man "makes a famine where abundance lies," what is this famine? What is the paradox of a "tender" churl? What are the various meanings of "tender"? What is the paradox in "mak'st waste by niggarding?" What is the poetic technique Shakespeare uses when he writes words like feed'st and mak'st? Why does he write them that way? What is the world's due in the last line? What two things are eating the world's due?

Sonnet 55: TBA

Sonnet 116: TBA

Sonnet 130: Describe the speaker's "mistress" in this poem. What color is her skin? Her breasts? Her cheeks? Her hair? What is the texture of her hair like? What does her breath smell like? What does her voice sound like? When his mistress walks, where does she walk? How does this contrast (apparently) with what other poets claim about their mistresses? To what sort of supernatural being do they apparently contrast their lovers? Why does the poet think his love is rare? How does the poet play with conventional stereotypes of love poetry? How is the speaker's lover an inversion or parody of the petrarchan and medieval lover?

Sonnet 138: What problem does the speaker of this sonnet have with his lover? What is the paradox is line #2 of this sonnet? The word lies in line two has two connotations--one regarding truth and one regarding sexuality. Explain the way each reading would affect the poem's meaning. How does a similar pun appear in the next-to-last line of the poem? What is the best "habit" (i.e. appearance) of love according to the speaker? In line eight, who is at fault for covering up the truth, the speaker or the speaker's lover (trick question!)?


 

 

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