Study Guide

Sonnet 2 Setting

By William Shakespeare


There are lots of ways of looking at the main pitch in this poem. What it boils down to is that the speaker (who we imagine being a little older and wiser) is trying to straighten out the young man he's talking to, trying to make him fly right. So we imagine this poem taking place in dad's office.

Maybe your dad has a place like this, where he calls you when he wants to have a "serious talk"? OK, maybe only dads on sitcoms have an office, but you can see the scene, right? He's sitting behind a big desk, with rows of books behind him. The lights are low, the place smells a little dusty, and you know you are in for a lecture. It's a little too hot, you're kind of fidgeting in the big leather chair he told you to sit down in. Then he starts in: "There's something I've been meaning to talk to you about…" Maybe he gets up at some point, fidgets with a book, or draws a little doodle. The whole point is to use the setting to get you to focus on what he wants, maybe to scare you a little too, just for good measure. Wherever this poem was set, it would have to be somewhere without much to distract its target from absorbing the message. Where do you picture this poem taking place?

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