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Study Questions

Methought I Saw my Late Espoused Saint (Sonnet 23) Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
  1. Why does the poem start by describing the speaker's vision using a series of similes, rather than directly describing the vision itself? What is the effect of this strategy upon our understanding of the vision of his wife?
  2. Did the speaker actually see his wife? How can you tell?
  3. Why does the embrace between the speaker and the vision fail? Why is this the moment the speaker wakes up?
  4. Do you agree with people who think Milton is the speaker of this poem? Why or why not? How does this belief change our interpretation of it?
  5. Why does the speaker, a Christian, choose to describe his vision using similes from Greek mythology and the Hebrew Bible at the beginning of the poem?
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