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Sonnet 130. William Shakespeare. Sonnet 130. Sonnets were very popular in Elizabethan England and used to praise women. They were often over exaggerated with over the top comparisons.

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sonnet 130

Sonnet 130

William Shakespeare

sonnet 1302
Sonnet 130

Sonnets were very popular in Elizabethan England and used to praise women. They were often over exaggerated with over the top comparisons.

This sonnet is different as Shakespeare does not use hyperbole. His mistress is a real person with ordinary qualities.

Shakespeare creates a direct contrast to the more traditional sonnet.

Highlight within this sonnet the unusual qualities that Shakespeare describes of his mistress.

Extension task:

Re-write the images you have identified into a more traditional comparison for example, ‘My love’s eyes are like the sun’s brightest beams.’

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Sonnet 130
  • Traditionally the final 2 lines of a sonnet sum up the poem. Look at the final 2 lines of this sonnet.
  • What does Shakespeare want the reader to think in the final two lines?
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Sonnet 130
  • Within the 1st 6 lines there are several references to colour. Highlight the different colours?
  • What is the significance of each colour?
  • List the insults with the 1st 8 lines – what is the reader meant top think when reading these insults?
  • Line 9 contains the 1st positive comment on his mistress. What is it? How does he then turn this into an insult?
  • Look at the use of rhyme in the sonnet. How are the last 2 lines different?
  • What does the change in rhyme indicate to the reader?
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Sonnet 130
  • Some people feel that Shakespeare is poking fun at something in the poem. What do you think it is?

People who exaggerate

The beauty of

Their partner


His mistress



of love poetry


The form of

a sonnet

The idea of the

perfect woman

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Sonnet 130
  • Write a paragraph to explain how Shakespeare was writing to entertain in Sonnet 130. then write a 2nd paragraph to explain how he also is making a serious point about how much he loves his mistress.
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Sonnet 130
  • Consider which poem you can compare this to with Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage



Sonnet 130

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Sonnet 130
  • Sonnet 130 and Salome.

Consider how both poems break the conventions. Sonnet 130 breaks the conventions of Elizabethan Love poetry and Salome of gender.

How would you answer the following question:

How do Shakespeare and Salome do the unexpected?

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Sonnet 130

You could comment on:

  • How they describe their partners.
  • How they make fun of the conventions of behaviour and writing poetry.
  • How the poems end.
  • Whether you find them entertaining.

Now plan you response….