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Passion for Poetry: Sonnets Study

About this Daily Classroom Special
Passion for Poetry presents a series of interactive worksheets designed to expose students to the world of poetry. The worksheets allow for differentiated activities so students at all levels can develop a passion for poetry. Passion for Poetry was written  by Janice Gordon, Laptop Program Coordinator for Hartford (CT) Public Schools and a former Teachers Network web mentor.

Part I-Background on Sonnets

Read the information on Shakespeare's sonnets then answer the following questions:

  1. What is a sonnet?

  2. What are the two main forms of sonnets?

  3. Where did the sonnet originate?

  4. How many sonnets did Shakespeare compose in his lifetime?

  5. What is the rhyme scheme of the Shakespearean sonnet?

Part II-Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare Vocabulary

  1. temperate
  2. complexion
  3. declines
  4. untrimmed
  5. eternal

Part III-Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare Analysis Questions

  1. Sonnet 18 uses metaphor. What two things are being compared in the sonnet?

  2. What do you think Shakespeare means when he says, "too hot the eye of heaven shines"?

  3. Shakespeare says, "But thy [your] eternal summer shall not fade". Why do you think he believes this?

  4. How can a poem make someone's life eternal?

  5. Pretend you are the person to whom this poem is written. Write a short note to William Shakespeare in response to the poem.

Part IV-Extension Activities

  1. Read about Elizabeth Barrett Browning, then read one of her sonnets from Sonnets from the Portuguese (How do I love thee…?) and answer the following:

    1. Who do you think Elizabeth Browning's poem is about?

    2. How do you think her life is reflected in her poetry?

    3. Do you prefer this poem to Sonnet 18? Why or why not?

    4. In your opinion, what are the most interesting lines in this poem?

  2. Extra Credit Challenge (Optional): Write your own sonnet about any of the following subjects: love, friendship, grief, hope, or any other subject you wish. Use either Elizabeth Barrett Browning or Shakespeare as a model for the rhyme pattern of your sonnet. (rhyming dictionary on the Internet may come in handy.)

 

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