Teacher Guide

Shakespeare's Sonnets Lesson Plan

Introduction to Shakespeare's Sonnets

Shakespeare's sonnets, a collection of 154 poems on various subjects, were first published in 1609. They are dedicated to a mysterious Mr. W.H.; this set of initials has caused rampant speculation among literary scholars.

The sonnet is a poetic form developed in the 13th century by Italian poet Francesco Petrarch: it is fourteen lines long, rhyming and metered, and often explores the theme of love. The form was imported to England in the sixteenth century (with the rhyme scheme and scansion adjusted to accommodate the common patterns of the English language) and popularized by many poets, ultimately including Shakespeare, the most famous writer in the English language. However,...

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