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Study Questions

When I Consider How My Light is Spent (On His Blindness) Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. How do you know this poem is about blindness? What if it were not about blindness at all? In that case, what would the "light" represent?
  2. What is your own particular "talent"? Do you think this talent could ever be threatened by external circumstances, like some kind of unlucky event or accident?
  3. Do you think this poem might just be an elaborate justification of laziness?
  4. Why do so many of the words in the poem have different meanings from the ones we're used to (like "spent," "account," "fondly," etc.)?
  5. How does this sonnet differ from those of Shakespeare? (You can learn about formal differences in "Form and Meter," but we want to know your own personal impressions.)
  6. Can you think of other artists or creative types who have succeeded in spite of seemingly insurmountable disadvantages? (For us, Beethoven and his deafness come to mind.)

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