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The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd


by Sir Walter Ralegh

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd Questions

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

  1. What is the role of the hypothetical statements (stanza 1 and stanza 6) that frame the body of the poem?
  2. What answer does the speaker truly want to give to the shepherd? Do we know for sure? Does she give him that answer? What parts of the poem lead you to your answer?
  3. What is the role of love in this poem? Does it have one?
  4. Compare and contrast "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" and "The Nymph's Reply." What differences do you see between these two poems? What similarities? What is the overall effect of looking at these two poems together as opposed to viewing each separately? 
  5. If you were the shepherd, what might you say back to the nymph? Has her argument left you any defense or possibility of persuasion?

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