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‘ On Sitting down to Read King Lear Once Again ’ 1818. Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’. http:// www.rsc.org.uk/explore/king-lear/synopsis.aspx http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ bL-vj2oN8w Sparknotes video: http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptXr7LKylpg. Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’.

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shakespeare s king lear
Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’



Sparknotes video:


shakespeare s king lear1
Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’

What does the title suggest to us about Keats’ mood at the time of writing this sonnet?

How does the line: ‘Let me not wander in barren dreams’ relate to the story of King Lear?

What is Keats trying to say here in this line?

  • Remember, classical allusions are a feature of Romantic poetry.
  • Do you recall which allusion was used in ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’?
understanding the references in the poem
Understanding the references in the poem
  • Syren/Siren

Find out what

a siren is.


Look back at the first quatrain of the poem. How does Keats use personification in relation to Romance and the siren?

albion find out what this is
Albion – find out what this is

Question: why does Keats use the word Albion in his poem? Does it create a particular mood?

phoenix find out what it is
Phoenix – find out what it is

Question: How does Keats use the phoenix symbolically? Why does he refer to the phoenix at the end of the poem?

  • 1) What is personified using an apostrophe in the opening line?
  • 2) How is Romance described as being attractive to Keats?
  • 3) What is the connotation of “wintry” on line 3? Why is Romance not suitable for a wintry day?
  • 4) How does Keats use language in line 4 to highlight his altered view on Romance?
  • 5)What is the effect of imperative verbs in lines 3 and 4?

6) Explore the use of negative lexis in the second quatrain.

7) Keats refers to King Lear’s life as a “fierce dispute betwixt damnation and impassioned clay”? What does this tells us about Keats’ views on life, death and eternity? How does it reflect his worries at the time?

8) What is the “fruit” Keats refers to in line 8 and why is it bitter sweet?

9) Explore the effect of punctuation in the second quatrain.

10) What is the effect of the word “must” in line 7?


11) Who does Keats address in line 9?

12) How is language used to create a depressing tone in lines 11 and 12?

13) How does line 12 link to King Lear?

14) What could the fire represent?

15) In the conclusion of this sonnet, Keats has altered the Petarchan form and used a couplet particular to the Shakespearian sonnet: why?

16) How does the final couplet mark a change in tone?

personal response
Personal response
  • Which is the best line?
  • Which description is the most effective?
  • Which words do you find very powerful?
  • Which is the weakest line?
  • Which image do you find least effective?