Lesson video

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Good morning, everyone.

Mrs Wilkinson here with the third of our series of lessons on "Death, be not Proud" by John Donne.

In today's lesson, we're going to be learning about structure.

We're going to be using our poetry detective skills to find everything there is to know about structure.

But before we start, you're going to prepare yourself for learning.

So make sure you've got your pen and your paper, a ruler and pencil for underlining, and that you have a nice quiet space if possible, and you've cleared away anything that can distract you including any devices or anything else.

So pause the video now if you need to do that, otherwise we will begin.

First of all, we're going to be discovering what poetry detective skills might include, and then we're going to use those to look at the structure of the poem.

And then we're going to work out what that structure tells us, and we're going to solve the puzzle about why the poet made those structural choices, and then we're going to write about them.

And then of course, you've got to do your quiz at the end to check your learning.

So when we analyse a poem, we are like poetry detectives.

So what I want you to do now, is think about what skills does a detective have that helps him solve a mystery or solve a crime? So keep those in your mind.

And you can actually pause the video now and write this as your subheading, and then resume when you're finished.

So let's have a look at what structure actually is.

So if you look at these buildings, they all look slightly different.

So they have what's called different structure.

It just means the shape and size of them.

And it's the same with poems, they can all be different sizes, they can be made up of different sections.

So the one in the middle there, that looks like the Empire State Building to me that has got lots of different sections, and it makes a very specific shape.

But it's also the inside of the buildings.

The insides will be all be different too, and it's the same with poems. They can have different components that add to the structure.

So this is a good definition of structure.

The structure of a poem means the way the poem has been put together and laid out on the page.

So write this down now so that you've got a good definition of structure.

Pause the video and resume when you're ready.

So now you're going to do a little task just to check that you understand these poetry terms that we're going to be using in the lesson today.

So write the terms down and then match them up with the correct definition.

Pause the video now, and then start it when you're ready.

So well done if you've got stanza, it's like a verse in a poem.

Rhyme means words that end in the same sound like head and said.

You'll notice there they don't have to be actually be spelled the same.

The rhyme scheme is the pattern of rhyming words usually at the end of the line.

And rhythm means the pattern of words and sounds that makes up the beat of the poem and gives it that rhythm and it's also known as metre.

So now you're going to use your observation skills on the poem.

Let's have a think about what the poem looks like on the page.

So in a moment, I'll put the poem up, and you're going to look and see how many stanzas it's got, how many lines it's got, and whether the lines are more or less the same length.

And then you're going to write three sentences about the poem, each starting with "The poem".

So "The poem has" however many stanzas, how many lines.

So here's the poem.

So you can pause the video now while you answer those three questions.

So you should have written, the poem has one stanza, the poem has 14 lines, and the lines are more or less of equal length.

So now we're going to look at the rhyme scheme of the poem.

So this is how the rhyme scheme would be written.

The first line of the poem will always be A, so you've got thee there, so you need to find a word that rhymes with thee.

So we find that on line four.

So thee rhymes with me, so we have another A.

The second line is so, so that would be B and that rhymes with overthrow.

So you have another B there.

So you have ABBA.

If another word rhymes with thee, like be, for example, that would be another A.

And then it goes down through the poem.

If you come to a word that doesn't rhyme with either thee or so, then it would be a C and it goes through the alphabet CDEF.

So pause the video now and work out the rhyme scheme and write it down.

So this is what you should have found.

So you've got the ABBA there, and then you've got another ABBA.

That's because the be and delivery rhyme with thee and the flow and the go rhyme with so.

So you've got those repeated.

The we move on to line nine, where we've got men and that doesn't rhyme with either thee or so, so we need a C there.

And then I've got dwell and that doesn't rhyme with thee or so or men.

But then well does actually rhyme with dwell, so you put a D, and then rhymes with men so we've got another C.

And then we come to the final couplet, they are the last two lines, and we've got eternally and die.

So it could look a bit tricky there because eternally does actually rhyme with thee, if you pronounce it eternally so it could be an A, but if you pronounce eternal lie, it rhymes with die so it could be an E.

So die is the final sound, so that is the E.

So it's a little bit tricky there, but that's how you work out the rhyme scheme.

And then you write it out, if you were talking about the rhyme scheme you would actually write it out like this.

So the bottom line there, the poem's rhyme scheme is ABBA ABBA CDDC A/EE.

So if you haven't written that, then you can write that down now.

So now we're going to move on to the rhythm of the poem, which is known as metre.

So the metre in this poem is called iambic pentameter.

So you might have come across that before.

It's a really important one, because Shakespeare uses it a lot, and it's used in a lot of poems from the time of John Donne.

So iambic pentameter means 10 syllables in the line.

So a syllable is an individual sound in a word.

So Apple, for example, has two sounds, Ap / ple.

So that would have two syllables.

Iambic, i / am / bic has actually three syllables.

Pentameter has four.

So what you're doing, what you're working out really here is how many individual sounds there are in the line.

And then you bunch them together in pairs.

So you've got five pairs and they are unstressed and stressed.

So it sounds a bit like de dum / de dum / de dum / de dum / de dum so you could imagine that it's like a heartbeat.

So, du dum / du dum / du dum / du dum / du dum / so that might help you to remember what it's like.

So why might we use iambic pentameter? Iambic pentameter is a very controlled way of writing, so it could actually be demonstrating control.

Also, because you have the stressed and the unstressed words, some of them might sound a bit more important, a bit more powerful than others.

And again you've got that emphasis.

So the words that are stressed or emphasised, so the poet might be using the iambic pentameter to tell us something, to actually make a particular point.

And that would be our job as a poetry detective to work out.

Let's have a look at how the iambic pentameter is put together.

If you count the number of syllables we have there on the front line, death, be / not proud, / though some / have call / ed thee, so the call / ed bit is because in Donne's time, they would have actually said called like call ed.

So you have got 10 syllables there, and then you divide them into two pairs.

So death be is one little pair, not proud, another little pair, though some, and so on.

And then the second syllable in each of those pairs will be the stressed syllable.

So the first line would be death, be / not proud, / those some / have call / ed thee.

If we look at the next line down, one short / sleep past, / we wake / et er nal ly and death / shall be / no more; / death, thou / shalt die.

So it's always 10 syllables, so that's really useful to remember, and they're kind of like beats, and then you put them into pairs and they're unstressed and then stressed.

So what you're going to do now is just have a look at one line of the poem, and you're going to write out the iambic pentameter.

So you're going to find work out the syllables, and you're going to put those dashes, those slashes between the pairs of syllables, and you're going to underline the second part, the second part of each of those pairs which will be the stressed part.

So you can pause the video now, pick a line, doesn't matter which one, and you can like the first one, do it exactly like the first one with the slashes between the syllables and then underlining the stressed syllable.

So here are some examples of iambic pentameter.

Die not, / poor Death, / nor yet / canst thou / kill me.

From rest / and sleep, / which by / thy pic / tures be.

So we've got those 10 syllables, and five sets of unstressed and stressed syllables.

So this poem is written in iambic pentameter.

"Death, be not Proud" is a holy sonnet.

So you have used your detective skills to identify some of the features of the sonnet form.

It's a very specific form that the poets have to conform to.

So just check that you've got all of these written down, the 14 lines, just one stanza, a specific rhyme scheme, and this one is known as a Petrarchan sonnet.

Petrarchan sonnet.

There are other types of sonnet and sonnets are always written in iambic pentameter.

So I want you now to think about which of these statements is true.

So pause the video and resume when you're ready.

Have a look at these and see if they are true or false.

So give me a thumbs up if they're true and a thumbs down if they are false.

So looking at option one, sonnets are always 16 lines.

That is false.

Of course sonnets have got 14 lines.

Option two, sonnets have a specific structure.

So that is true.

Well done if you got that one.

So they have this very precise structure, which we've been learning about.

Option three, the sonnet with the ABBA ABBA rhyme scheme is Petrarchan.

That is also true, well done.

And iambic pentameter provides the rhyme scheme.

Is that true or false? That is false.


Because that actually provides the rhythm doesn't it, it's the metre.

So well done if you got those two correct.

And now we're going to look at why structure is actually useful to us as poetry detectives when we're analysing a poem.

So the poem structure is important because the poet would have made very special decisions about what he was doing.

He would have laid it out on the page in a specific way, going to use a particular rhyme, a particular rhythm.

So these give us clues in any poem, but if a poem is sticking to rules like a sonnet, then if they break those rules, then this would also be done for a reason.

So this could give us some clues.

So you are going to carry on with your detective skills.

You're going to use the evidence that you've discovered already from observing the poem and working things out in the poem, and you're going to solve a puzzle as to why the poet might follow or break the rules in this sonnet.

So now pause the video and write this as your subheading, exploring the poet's choices in the poem, and then resume when you're ready.

So let's have a look at the rhythm and rhyme in the poem.

So the rhythm is the iambic pentameter.

So if you look at line one, Death, the word death is an unstressed word.

So unstressed word followed by stressed word.

So the poet made that choice on purpose, so that death wasn't seen as so important, perhaps.

Death, be / not proud, / though some / have call/ed thee, then let's go to lines 13 and 14.

So this is the last part of the poem, and this is called a couplet.

And normally in sonnets, the couplet will rhyme, but Donne has chosen not to create a clear rhyme.

So if you look at one short / sleep past, / we wake / et er / nal ly and death / shall be / no more; / Death, thou / shalt die.

So eternally and die don't actually rhyme, you can make it rhyme if you say eternal lie, but he's chosen not to do that really so he's probably done that for a reason as well.

So he did stick to a very strict rhyme scheme all the way through, didn't he? He was very, very precise and then suddenly at the end he chooses not to rhyme.

So this could actually also be showing that Death is losing control.

So Donne uses iambic pentameter and this means the stress on the first line is not on Death.

So I want you to have a little look at these and see which one you think is correct.

So death is presented as powerful and terrifying, by making the word unstressed, Death seems more powerful, by making the word unstressed, Death seem less powerful.

Deaths happens to be unstressed by chance.

So which one of those did you think was correct? So well done if you've got three, by making the word unstressed Death is less powerful.

So often, the last two lines of a sonnet rhyme, but Donne chose not to create that clear rhyme for the last two lines.

So I want you to now to have a look at these options.

So why did Donne choose not to create that clear rhyme? Is it option one, Donne wanted to make eternally stand out? It rhymes if you say eternal lie, instead of eternally, he could not find a good enough rhyme or it could be showing Death losing its power.

So pause the video if you need to, and choose which one you think is correct.

So well done if you thought it was number four, it could be showing that lack of control as you get towards the end of the poem, it becomes less structured, less controlled.

So now we're going to do our final task.

We're going to write about Donne's choices in "Death, be not Proud." So you're going to be thinking particularly about that structure, about that rhythm, the iambic pentameter and the rhyme scheme.

So what sonnet rules did Donne follow and why? What sonnet rules did Donne break and why? And why did Donne start with the word Death, thinking about that iambic pentameter? So you can check back to recap if you need to, start all your words, all your sentences with "Donne", I want you to write in full sentences, and I want you to think about structure.

So pause the video now and complete your task.

So here are some suggested answers.

For number one, Donne followed a regular rhyme scheme through most of the sonnet to show how people might see Death as a controlling factor in their lives.

Number two, Donne chose not to create a clear rhyme scheme for the last two lines.

This might be to show that Death is losing its power and control.

And finally, Donne uses iambic pentameter in the poem and by starting with the word death, which is an unstressed word, and this makes Death seem less powerful.

So hopefully you've got something similar to that, that idea of the control, the lack of control, the stressed and the unstressed and what the relevance of those might be.

So well done, great work.

You've worked extremely hard again today.

So all that's left to do is that quiz, just to prove to yourself how much you've actually learned.