New
New
Year 10
Eduqas

Understanding 'Sonnet 43'

I can explain how Barrett Browning presents her feelings of love.

New
New
Year 10
Eduqas

Understanding 'Sonnet 43'

I can explain how Barrett Browning presents her feelings of love.

Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. ‘Sonnet 43’ is one of Barrett Browning’s 44 sonnets that she wrote for her future husband - Robert Browning.
  2. The poem follows the conventions of a Petrarchan sonnet.
  3. The poem explores the transcendental and bountiful love the poet and her future husband share.
  4. Barrett Browning eloped with Robert Browning, and was disinherited by her father.
  5. Barrett Browning struggled with chronic illness, which may explain why the poem has spiritual/religious undertones.

Common misconception

Students might think that this sonnet was written whilst Barrett Browning was married.

This poem was written before the pair were married. Barrett Browning knew of her father's disapproval, but loved Robert Browning very much.

Keywords

  • Petrarchan sonnet - a kind of sonnet, used to express feelings of love, which has a unique rhyme scheme

  • Volta - a shift in tone in a poem, found in a sonnet between the octet and the sestet

  • Sombre - serious, sad and reflective

  • Bountiful - abundant - endless

  • Transcendental - beyond ordinary or common experience - spiritual or supernatural in some way

You could set some of Browning and Barrett Browning's letters to one another as additional reading for pupils to complete at home. These provide great insight into their relationship and the lengths they went to just to be together.
Teacher tip

Content guidance

  • Contains subject matter which individuals may find upsetting.

Supervision

Adult supervision suggested.

Licence

This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).

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6 Questions

Q1.
How many lines does a sonnet typically have?
7
Correct answer: 14
22
the are no set number of lines
Q2.
Sonnets are poems traditionally about....
family
Correct answer: love
life
war
Q3.
A shift in tone in a poem is known as a...
Correct Answer: volta
Q4.
The general feeling or attitude presented by a writer in a text is known as...
Correct Answer: tone, tone of voice, their tone
Q5.
If something is 'sombre' it is...
careful and considerate
happy and exciting
Correct answer: serious and sad
Q6.
The word transcendental means...
serious, sad and reflective
Correct answer: beyond ordinary or common experience
abundant or endless

6 Questions

Q1.
Match the keywords with their definitions.
Correct Answer:volta,a shift in tone in a poem

a shift in tone in a poem

Correct Answer:sombre,serious, sad and reflective

serious, sad and reflective

Correct Answer:bountiful ,abundant or endless

abundant or endless

Correct Answer:transcendental,beyond ordinary or common experience

beyond ordinary or common experience

Q2.
Sonnet 43 is an example of a __________ sonnet.
Correct answer: Petrarchan
Shakespearean
traditional
Q3.
'Sonnet 43' can be divided into 3 sections. What are they?
Correct answer: octet
Correct answer: volta
stanza
Correct answer: sestet
Q4.
The line "I love thee freely" from Sonnet 43 might suggest...
the speaker loves her partner constantly
Correct answer: the speaker chose to love her partner
the love the speaker and her partner share is pure
Q5.
Complete the quote from Sonnet 43: "In my old , and with my childhood’s faith."
Correct Answer: griefs
Q6.
‘Sonnet 43’ is one of Barrett Browning’s 44 sonnets that she wrote for her future .
Correct Answer: husband