Study Guide

Sonnet 2 Family

By William Shakespeare


The whole point of this poem is to convince a young man to have kids. The speaker argues that by having a son, the young man will create a family line, and his beauty will live on. But that's not exactly a family, is it? Be sure to notice that this poem doesn't say anything about a wife, or the possibility of him having a daughter. That's weird, because it's tricky to have a kid without a woman being involved somewhere. We think this might have something to do with the relationship between the speaker and the young man. (Check out the theme "Appearances" for more on this topic.)

Questions About Family

  1. Do you think family has to mean the same thing for all people? Do you need a mother and a father to raise a child? Why might this poem leave the mother out?
  2. Do you feel like a copy of your parents? Is there something a little disturbing about that idea, or does it seem natural to you?
  3. Do you think families are important? Do you think everyone should start one if they can?
  4. Do you think the speaker of this poem has the right ideas about family?

Chew on This

Because this poem is meant to appeal to a young man, it purposefully leaves out the idea of marriage and the traditional notion of a family. The speaker is attempting to describe the benefits of family without mentioning the responsibilities that go along with them.

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