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Poetry about Relationships: 'Sonnet 43'

In this worksheet, students will develop their understanding of poetry.

'Poetry about Relationships: 'Sonnet 43'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Curriculum topic:  

Curriculum subtopic:  

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

This worksheet will enable you to develop your understanding of poetry.

Read the following poem 'Sonnet 43' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861) and answer the questions. The Sonnet is one of a collection that she wrote for her husband.

 


******************

How do I love thee? (Sonnet 43)

 

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! -

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight -

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right, -

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise;

I love thee with the passion, put to use

In my old griefs, ... and with my childhood's faith:

I love thee with the love I seemed to lose

With my lost Saints, - I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life! - and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

 

******************

This poem has 14 lines. What form of poem is it?

ballad

sonnet

haiku

Why do you think the poet has decided to write it as a sonnet?

 

Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 on old paper scroll. - stock photo

because it shows her skills as a poet

because it is a Victorian poem

because it is a poem about love

What does the poem begin with and why? Select two correct answers.

a simile

a rhetorical question

to make the poem seem personal, as it is a direct address to someone

to interest the reader

What phrase is repeated throughout the poem?

How do I love thee?

I love thee

My soul can reach

Why is the phrase 'I love thee' repeated?

to give the poem a fast pace

to give the poem a structure

to emphasise how deeply she loves him

The repetition of 'I love thee' at the start of each phrase is called anaphora. This rhetorical device of repetition is also used in The Bible.

Why do you think the poet does this?

 

Bible, vector - stock vector

to make the poem seem more old fashioned, as if it is something you may find in The Bible

to make the poem sound a bit like a prayer and to connect her love with religion

The poem contains a lot of religious language.

Select the phrases below from the poem that have religious connections.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! -

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach,

For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right, -

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise;

I love thee with the passion

I love thee with the love I seemed to lose With my lost Saints,

and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.

Why does Barrett Browning use religious imagery in her sonnet? Select two reasons below.

 

Lighted church candles in dark - stock photo

Her love is like a religion to her; it affects every area of her life.

She goes to church with her husband.

She worships her husband like she worships God.

Her love for her husband is unconditional, like her religious faith.

What does the poet link her love to in the final line of the poem which makes her love seem pure, spiritual and everlasting?

church

death

heaven

What feelings are explored in this poem? Select three answers below.

desire

deep, eternal love

unselfish love

sudden passion

moral and spiritual love

  • Question 1

This poem has 14 lines. What form of poem is it?

CORRECT ANSWER
sonnet
EDDIE SAYS
This poem is a sonnet. Sonnets are usually about love.
  • Question 2

Why do you think the poet has decided to write it as a sonnet?

 

Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 on old paper scroll. - stock photo

CORRECT ANSWER
because it is a poem about love
EDDIE SAYS
The poet uses the sonnet form because it is a love poem. Sonnets usually deal with the theme of love.
  • Question 3

What does the poem begin with and why? Select two correct answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
a rhetorical question
to make the poem seem personal, as it is a direct address to someone
EDDIE SAYS
The poem begins with a rhetorical question to make the poem seem more personal, as it is directed to someone. It also invites the reader to engage more closely with the content of the poem.
  • Question 4

What phrase is repeated throughout the poem?

CORRECT ANSWER
I love thee
EDDIE SAYS
The phrase 'I love thee' is repeated throughout the poem. This reinforces how deeply in love the narrator is.
  • Question 5

Why is the phrase 'I love thee' repeated?

CORRECT ANSWER
to emphasise how deeply she loves him
EDDIE SAYS
Repetition is used to reinforce an attitude or idea.
  • Question 6

The repetition of 'I love thee' at the start of each phrase is called anaphora. This rhetorical device of repetition is also used in The Bible.

Why do you think the poet does this?

 

Bible, vector - stock vector

CORRECT ANSWER
to make the poem sound a bit like a prayer and to connect her love with religion
EDDIE SAYS
Religion was very important to people in the 1800s so by using religious imagery it shows her love is as important to her than religion.
  • Question 7

The poem contains a lot of religious language.

Select the phrases below from the poem that have religious connections.

CORRECT ANSWER
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach,
For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace.
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise;
I love thee with the love I seemed to lose With my lost Saints,
and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
EDDIE SAYS
Using religious imagery to describe her love reinforces how important he is to you.
  • Question 8

Why does Barrett Browning use religious imagery in her sonnet? Select two reasons below.

 

Lighted church candles in dark - stock photo

CORRECT ANSWER
Her love is like a religion to her; it affects every area of her life.
Her love for her husband is unconditional, like her religious faith.
EDDIE SAYS
Religious imagery used in the poem like 'ideal grace' and 'turn from praise' shows how deep her emotion is.
  • Question 9

What does the poet link her love to in the final line of the poem which makes her love seem pure, spiritual and everlasting?

CORRECT ANSWER
heaven
EDDIE SAYS
The poet links her love to heaven in order to make her love seem pure, spiritual and everlasting.
  • Question 10

What feelings are explored in this poem? Select three answers below.

CORRECT ANSWER
deep, eternal love
unselfish love
moral and spiritual love
EDDIE SAYS
The poet explores all the ideas of love towards her partner.
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