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warm up
Warm Up

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.”

~Robert Heinlein, 1907-1988

Write: Why do you think the author included the ability to write a sonnet?

Share your ideas with a partner.

Write: What were some ideas your partners came up with? How could you integrate them into your ideas.


CLO Students analyze orally and in writing the structure and style of Shakespeare’s sonnets using poetic analysis statements (I think it means…, The rhyme scheme is used…) by breaking down and paraphrasing as a class and small groups.

sonnet 18
Sonnet #18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?Thou art more lovely and more temperate:Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,And summer's lease hath all too short a date:Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,And often is his gold complexion dimmed,And every fair from fair sometime declines,By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed: But thy eternal summer shall not fade,Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

sonnet 18 line by line paraphrase
Sonnet 18 (Line by Line Paraphrase)

OOOOH Baby I think I shall compare you to a summer dayBut, you know, you're prettier and even better, even calmBecause sometimes it gets windy and the buds on the trees get shaken offAnd sometimes summer doesn't last very longSometimes it's too hot

And everything gorgeous loses its looksBy getting hit by a truck Or just because everyone and everything gets old and ugly and shabbyBUT (and here's the turn) you're going to keep your looks for ever Your beauty will last foreverI'm going to make sure that you never lose your good looksAnd that nasty old Death can never brag about owning youBecause I shall write this poem about youAs long as men can breathe (are you breathing?) As long as men can see (are you looking at this poem?)Then this poem lives, and it gives life and memory to your beauty.

shakespearean sonnet
Shakespearean sonnet

a 14 line stanza written in iambic pentameter, that employs the rhyme scheme abab, cdcd, efef, gg, and can be divided into three quatrains (three groups of four lines) and a couplet (one group of two lines).

iambic pentameter
Iambic Pentameter
  • Iambic pentameter is the name given to a line of verse that consists of five iambs (an iamb being one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed, such as "before"). It has been a fundamental building block of poetry in English, used in many poems by many poets from the English Renaissance to the present day.
iambic pentameter examples
Iambic Pentameter Examples
  • Some examples of iambic pentameter include:
  • But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? 
  • It is the east, and Juliet is the sun
  • Her vestal livery is but sick and green
  • And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
sonnet 29
Sonnet 29
  • When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes,I all alone beweep my outcast state,And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,And look upon myself and curse my fate,Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,With what I most enjoy contented least,Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,Haply I think on thee, and then my state,(Like to the lark at break of day arisingFrom sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate, For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings,That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
sonnet 29 paraphrase
Sonnet #29 (Paraphrase)

When I feel and lucky and as if no one likes meAnd I feel all alone and cryAnd it's as if my prayers to heaven have no power at all because no one is listeningAnd I feel sorry for myself and think that 'm the unluckiest person aliveI wish that I had that persons opportunitiesThat I looked like that cute person and was as popular as the most popular person in my classWishing that I had that man's talent, and that man's understanding of difficult conceptsNot at all happy with the things I usually enjoy.Even then, almost hating myself for thinking this wayPerhaps my thoughts think about you, and then my soul,Just like the lark that sings at the moment the light of dayBreaks over the cold earth, sings a song filled with joy and light Because I remember the sweet love we share, and the richness that it brings And, at that point, remembering what we have together, I wouldn't changemy present condition even with a king.


The inductive reasoning gathers the evidence into an argument, but turns the argument around at the couplet. Also, it's the couplet that usually provides the basic thesis or theme of the sonnet.

sonnet 130
Sonnet 130

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun,Coral is far more red, than her lips red,If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun:If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head:I have seen roses damasked, red and white,But no such roses see I in her cheeks,And in some perfumes is there more delight,Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.I love to hear her speak, yet well I know,That music hath a far more pleasing sound:I grant I never saw a goddess go,My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.And yet by heaven I think my love as rare,As any she belied with false compare.

your mission
Your Mission
  • In your small groups, please mark the quatrains, couplet, and rhyme scheme
  • Then, paraphrase line by line what is being said in the poem. Pay attention to the couplet at the end. What was Shakespeare trying to say?

Compose a sonnet of your own

  • 14 line stanza
  • Written in iambic pentameter
  • Rhyme scheme abab, cdcd, efef, gg,
  • And divided into three quatrains (three groups of four lines) and a couplet (one group of two lines).