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Study Questions

To Melancholy Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
  1. Why do you think the speaker brings up the poet and playwright Thomas Otway? What's the effect? Why not keep it entirely about herself?
  2. Why does the speaker say that melancholy has "magical power"? Why bring the question of the supernatural into it at all?
  3. Why does she address the poem "to melancholy" instead of just making the poem about melancholy? Why treat melancholy as though it's a person, instead of just a state of mind?
  4. Sonnets are usually love poems, but this one is addressed to melancholy, not to a lover. Do you think the speaker is almost in love with her own melancholy? Why or why not?
  5. Have you ever felt the kind of so-sad-it's-good feeling that the speaker describes? When? Under what circumstances?
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