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Study Questions

Sonnet 94 Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
  1. Line 5 of Shakespeare's Sonnet appears to echo the Sermon on the Mount's famous line, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Instead of predicting good things for "the meek," however, Shakespeare predicts good things for the cold, calculating powerful people, who could hurt you, but don't. Are these people "meek" in any way? Why is Shakespeare making this comparison to the Bible? Is it just for shock value, or is he trying to offer some criticism of the Biblical prophecy? 
  2. What is the effect of switching imagery abruptly in line 9 of Sonnet 94? Why do you think Shakespeare chose to structure his sonnet in this way? Is that in keeping with traditional sonnet forms?
  3. The powerful people described in Sonnet 94 sound really nasty in a lot of ways. Can the speaker really mean all the complimentary things he says about them, or is he just being sarcastic? 
  4. Sonnet 94 appears near the middle of a book of love poems. Is it a love poem? Why or why not?
  5. How does sonnet 94 stack up against other sonnets you've read? How is it similar? Different?
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