Shakespeare's Sonnets Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What is Shakespeare's Sonnet 60 about? Which of the following best describes the whole structure of the poem as a whole? a) Three different conceits about the power of an idea, followed by a generalization about its ultimate fragility b) a dispassionate analysis of an event, devoid of personal reference until the final image c) Four contrasting views of an emotion, with no final resolution The action of waves in lines 1–4 is best described as a) an inexorable procession b) a remorseless competition c) a reassuring monotony In line 5, "Navity" refers primarily to the a) youth of the speaker b) earliest stage of life c) birth of Jesus the subject of lines 1–4 is best described as the a) minutes of our lives elapsing b) necessity of toil c) power of natural forces The image of "crooked eclipse" (line 7) is most closely linked to which other image in the poem? a) the pebbled shore (line 1) b) sequent toil (line 4) c) the main light (line 5) d) beauty's brow (line 10) e) nature's truth (line 11) In contex, the phase "transfix the flourish" (line 9) is best understood to mean a) preserve the growth b) raise the hopes c) satisfy the desires d) thwart the ambition e) diminish the vitality 

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(All line citations are taken from the text available at the Shakespeare Online reference provided.)

Question 1: Which of the following best describes the whole structure of the poem as a whole?

A) Three different conceits about the power of an idea, followed by a generalization about its ultimate fragility

B) A dispassionate analysis of an event, devoid of personal reference until the final image

C) Four contrasting views of an emotion, with no final resolution

Answer: A. Shakespeare's Sonnet 60 presents three images representing the inescapable passage of time and then challenges time's power in the final two lines. The first stanza's conceit is the incoming tide, each minute like a wave inexorably making its way up the shore. The second uses the conceit of the sun, in which birth is a dawn and youth a rise to the full brightness of maturity, which then descends into the encroaching darkness of advancing age. The third uses the familiar image of the reaper to represent time, age, and death,...

(The entire section contains 606 words.)

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