Possible Essay Questions:
1. Consider the imagery used in Shakespeare’s assigned sonnets, Herrick’s “To the Virgins,” and Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress.” Although their images differ, what do all these poets seem to be saying about time? Be specific when referring to the poems.
The imagery is very different, but all of the poems and poets seem to be saying time is important in life. In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 he says, “And every fair from fair sometime declines,” when explaining the inevitable decline in appearance of his friend (Line 7). In Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 he says, “I all alone beweep my outcast state,” suggesting that he regrets the decisions he has made in his life and might have made different decisions if he was given
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The questions he asks them to pose to the parents is, “whether they would not at this day think it a great happiness to have been sold for food at a year old in the manner I prescribe, and thereby have avoided such a perpetual sense of misfortunes as they have since gone through” (2468). Swift feels that the parents would answer yes to the question because of the unbearable lives they will live, or more appropriately survive, if they continue being oppressed by England. He outlines several reasons for their decision to be sold for food when he says, “the impossibility of paying rent without money or trade, the want of common sustenance, with neither house nor clothes to cover them from the inclemencies of the weather, and the most inevitable prospect of entailing the like or greater miseries upon their breed forever” (2468). Swift has previously offered several proposals to the oppressive English only to have them dismissed. England purposefully kept Ireland in poverty as to limit the threat to their kingdom. This infuriated Swift so after several attempts to be reasonable, he offers this absurd proposal as a viable option and in turn reflects the absurdity in which they are treated by England.
5. Explain how John Donne uses conceits in “The Flea,” “Holy Sonnet 10” or “Holy Sonnet 14.”
John Donne uses simile in “The Flea” when he says, “This flea is you and I, and this / Our marriage bed and marriage temple is,”