Think of the speaker of the sonnet as a fictional character speaking to another fictional character for some purpose. Then, write a 4-5 page essay in which you will look at (a) what point the sonnet ultimately makes (b) how the attitudes / ideas of the speaker might change over the course of the sonnet, and (c) how the language used works together to persuade the fictional intended audience of that point.    In other words, you will present a subtle, nuanced close reading of the sonnet 

Think of the speaker of the sonnet as a fictional character speaking to another fictional character for some purpose. Then, write a 4-5 page essay in which you will look at (a) what point the sonnet ultimately makes (b) how the attitudes / ideas of the speaker might change over the course of the sonnet, and (c) how the language used works together to persuade the fictional intended audience of that point.    In other words, you will present a subtle, nuanced close reading of the sonnet 

Do not use any outside resources besides the Oxford English Dictionary (or perhaps a reference for an allusion).  This needs to be your own ideas, not ideas from others.  So you should not consult any secondary sources, literary critics, or help guides, either in print or online.

Any information you get from reference material (such as the OED) them that make it into your essay needs, of course, to be cited using MLA citation format.

 

ASSIGNMENT:  Think of the speaker of the sonnet as a fictional character speaking to another fictional character for some purpose. Then, write a 4-5 page essay in which you will look at (a) what point the sonnet ultimately makes (b) how the attitudes / ideas of the speaker might change over the course of the sonnet, and (c) how the language used works together to persuade the fictional intended audience of that point.    In other words, you will present a subtle, nuanced close reading of the sonnet

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Some caveats and guidelines:  Consider the sonnet as a small dramatic, fictional situation; a speaker is talking to a particular person or thing hoping to express a particular idea or get a particular result.  do not get tied up about whether the sonnet is addressed to a real person, whether it is autobiographical (always assume not, unless you have other information), or how it relates to other sonnets.  Treat the speaker like a character.  Call the speaker “the speaker” or “the persona,” not “Shakespeare.”     Although small, think about the plot of the sonnet:  do ideas change at any place?  Why?  Don’t use quotations over 2 ½ lines long.  Most importantly, don’t begin drafting your essay until you’ve spent substantial time figuring out the sonnet and how it works.

 

Sonnet 43

When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
And darkly bright are bright in dark directed;
Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright,
How would thy shadow’s form form happy show
To the clear day with thy much clearer light,
When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so?
How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made
By looking on thee in the living day,
When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay?
All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.

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