William Shakespeare (1564-1616): the Poet 1. Choose the best
William Shakespeare (1564-1616): the Poet
1. Choose the best alternative to complete these statements.
1. In his sonnets Shakespeare used
a two seven-line stanzas.
b an octave and a sestet.
c three quatrains and a couplet.
2. In Shakespeare’s sonnets the turning point in thought is at
a the fourth line.
b the ninth line.
c the thirteenth line.
3. Sonnets I to CXXVI were devoted to
a Shakespeare’s wife.
b Queen Elizabeth.
c the Earl of Southampton.
4. Sonnets CXXVII to the end were addressed to
a a landlady.
b a dark lady.
c a lady-in-waiting.
5. In Shakespeare’s sonnets Time is
a an active antagonist.
b simply a theme.
c a friend to the poet.
From Sonnets (1609)
When I consider every thing that grow
Holds in perfection but1 a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows2
Whereon3 the stars in secret influence comment.
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and checked4 even by the self-same sky:
Vaunt in their youthful sap5, at height decrease6,
And wear their brave state out of memory7.
Then the conceit8 of this inconstant stay,
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful9 Time debateth with decay
To change your day of youth to sullied10 night,
And all in war with time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you11 new.
1. but. Solo.
2. nought but shows. Solo fantasmi.
3. Whereon. Su cui.
4. Cheered and checked. Illuminati e minacciati.
5. Vaunt … sap. Vantarsi in gioventù.
6. at height decrease. All’apice decrescere.
7. And … memory. E cancellarsi da memoria l’età orgogliosa (della giovinezza).
8. conceit. Pensiero, considerazione.
9. wasteful. Distruttore.
10. sullied. Fetida.
11. engraft you. Ti innesto.
WORK ON THE TEXT
1. Read the text and find the words with the following meaning.
1. Possesses, contains _____________________________________________ .
2. Enormous ____________________________________________________ .
3. Grow ________________________________________________________ .
4. Watery substance that carries food through a plant ____________________ .
5. In front of ____________________________________________________ .
6. Discusses _____________________________________________________ .
7. Slow destruction _______________________________________________ .
2. Work on the semantic fields of the poem. Complete the charts with appropriate words.
3. Read the poem and write down.
1. What the poet reflects upon
2. The star’s role in man’s life
3. What the parable of man’s life is like
4. How the poet views the fair youth
5. What the poet decides to do
STRUCTURE AND STYLE
4. Note down the rhyme scheme.
5. Where do you think the turning point lies?
6. Write down the metaphors referring to man’s life. What is their connotation?
7. Note down the contrasting images contained in the poem.
8. Find the personifications in the poem. How are they achieved?
9. What triangular relationship is created in the couplet? What is the role of its protagonists?
10. State the theme of the sonnet.