illustrated portrait of Anne Boleyn, the subject of Wyatt's poem

Whoso List to Hunt

by Sir Thomas Wyatt

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Topics for Further Study

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  • Select at least two additional sonnets by other sixteenth-century poets, such as William Shakespeare or Sir Philip Sidney, to read alongside Wyatt's "Whoso List to Hunt" and the Petrarchan sonnet that inspired Wyatt, "Rime 190." Write an essay in which you compare and contrast the rhyme and meter of these four sonnets as well as the manner in which the English poets use the sonnet to explore different topics of Elizabethan life. Discuss what your findings suggest about the evolution of the sonnet form and about the interests and abilities of each poet.
  • The court of King Henry VIII was filled with gaiety and spectacle. Henry was himself well known for his elaborate clothing, and he encouraged his courtiers to dress for "show" as well. Research the garments characteristic of the Tudor court and create a poster presentation of your findings, using illustrations to help explain the nature and purpose of the various articles. Explain what these clothes reveal about the Tudor court and especially about what the people valued.
  • Watch one of the film versions of the life of Henry VIII and his six wives and compare the film to what you have discovered through research about the real six wives of Henry VIII. Create an individual "biography" for each wife that will function as a comparative study guide; then, after watching the film, make a poster or graph for each wife's comparison. Discuss the changes that the film's actors and director made to the actual personages and events and why those changes might have been made.
  • A feminist study of Wyatt's poem "Whoso List to Hunt" might focus on the objectification of the woman prey, who is hunted as if she were a forest animal. Research the roles of women in sixteenth-century English society, paying particular attention to how women acted as daughters, wives, and mothers. Write a report that examines the following issues: Consider how wealth or poverty affected women's roles. How much control did women have over their bodies and their property? Discuss women's legal rights, if any, and what they might have done if they chose not to marry. Evaluate the lives of these women in relation to the lives of women in modern society. Finally, considering the role that you might have played as either a man or a woman, explain whether or not you would have enjoyed living in this time period.
  • Using the fourteen-line format, write your own love sonnet. You might employ one of the customary rhyme schemes of Elizabethan poets, or you can create your own rhyme scheme; regardless, a clear pattern must be present. Your topic can be any kind of loveā€”love for a pet, a parent, a grandparent, a friend, or even an object like a car. Then write a one-page critique of your poem. What do you consider your poem's strengths and weaknesses? Explain why you chose your rhyme scheme and whether adhering to it was difficult or easy. Discuss why you chose your particular topic and how you approached the actual writing of the sonnet.

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