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1: Answer Key (p. 118)

Checkpoints Sonnet 130
  1. How does Shakespeare describe his beloved?
    • Eyes – nothing like the sun/ not bright
    • Lips – coral is more red / her lips are not bright red
    • Skin colour – her breasts are dun / she has greyish coloured skin
    • Hair – like black wires
    • Cheeks – no such roses / pale
    • Breath – reeks / stinks
    • Voice – music hath a far more pleasing sound / not melodious
  2. He loves her because she is special to him, in spite of her apparent lack of exceptional beauty.
  3. Others make false comparisons between their sweethearts, making their beloved even more beautiful than they really are.

Here are some websites that explain sonnet 130:

St Thomas University/Canada

Checkpoints Sonnet 18
  1. Summers are often too windy or too short and the sun is either too hot or hidden behind clouds.
  2. By “thy eternal summer” he is talking about the beloved’s youth and beauty.
  3. The beloved will never die as long as people read this poem.
  4. The message of the sonnet is that the beloved is far more beautiful, will live longer and be loved longer than a passing summer all because of this very poem. In fact, the message may well be more of a tribute to the poet than to the beloved. It is only because of the poet that the beloved lives on.

Here are some websites that explain sonnet 18:

Cummings Study Guide

Research and Discover

A sonnet has
  • 14 lines
  • They rhyme every other line (quatrains 1-3) and the last two lines rhyme (couplet)
  • The rhyme scheme is : abab cdcd efef gg.
  • Each of the quatrains goes together thematically:
    • 1-4/ summer’s day,
    • 5-8/sun,
    • 9-12/ thy eternal summer and death and the last two lines go together /the eternal poeme.
  • The syllables are unstressed then stressed (x- ), iambs.
  • There are five patterns of unstressed/stressed syllables per line: iambic pentameter.

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