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Sonnet 29 Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- If you were going to turn Sonnet 29 into a short film like these people did, what would it look and sound like? What setting would you choose and why?
- Literary critics generally agree that sonnets 1-126 are addressed to the same unnamed person—a young man that scholars usually refer to as the "Fair Youth." This makes some sense if you read sonnets 1-126 in order. But! Is there any textual evidence in this single poem to prove that Sonnet 29 is addressed to a young man, specifically? What do we really know about the person being addressed in the poem? In other words, who the heck is "thee" (10)?
- How does Shakespeare use the "lark" as a symbol in this sonnet?
- The speaker of the sonnets is a "dramatic creation," sort of like a fictional character in one of Shakespeare's plays. At least that's what literary scholar Harold Bloom is always telling us. Do you agree? Why or why not? If you do think the speaker is like a dramatic character from a Shakespeare play, does he remind you of anyone in particular?
- Sonnet 29 has a rhyme scheme that's slightly different than most of Shakespeare's other sonnets. Instead of the usual ABABCDCDEFEFGG pattern, Sonnet 29 looks like this: ABABCDCDEBEBFF. (Shakespeare repeats the B rhyme at lines 10 and 12 instead of using an F rhyme.) Why do you think that is? How does it impact the way we experience the poem?
- The speaker of this sonnet says that the "sweet love" of some unnamed person ("thee") makes him feel like the luckiest guy in the world. What kind of "love" do you think he's talking about? Is it sexual? Platonic? Something else? In other words, do you think this poem is addressed to a lover? A friend? A family member?
- The speaker spends a lot of time boo-hooing about how God doesn't pay attention to him or love him. The funny thing is that the speaker never actually uses God's name. Instead he refers to "heav'n" or "heaven." What's up with that?
- Compare Sonnet 29 to Sonnet 30. What kinds of themes and imagery do these sonnets share in common? Does your reading of Sonnet 30 give you any insight into Sonnet 29?