Lesson Plan: Sonnet 43 (Lesson Two)



‘Sonnet 43’-Elizabeth Barrett-Browning Poem 4/14

Learning Objectives Having explored the thematic content of the poem in the previous lesson, students will explore the effects of language used by the poet and attempt to develop their analysis skills when writing about a literary text.

Starter Activity

Read over all the poems studied so far. Sonnet 43 to be read by a volunteer-the first line could be echoed by the class. 

10 minute discussion about the language effects in the poem, some of which will have been discussed in the previous lesson.

Students should return to their desks and consider the statements below expanding upon them with their own words.



Copy of the poem from previous session.





Main Teaching And Learning Activities


Students will be primarily concerned with the effects of language as employed by the poet. The idea is to get them writing complex analytical sentences, which will help them to write an essay later on.

1) The speaker begins by posing a question that the entire sonnet will go on to answer: “How do I love thee?” Rather than using ‘why’ or perhaps even ‘when’, the ‘how’ is employed which achieves the effect of …………………  Since the poem provides an answer to the question, is not a rhetorical one and the reader feels……….

2) In lines three and four, the poet uses assonance, repeating long “e” vowel sounds in words like “reach,” “feeling,” “Being,” and “ideal.” This repeated long vowel sound adds ….

3) There’s also an internal rhyme between the word “feeling” in the middle of line three and the word “Being” in the middle of line four. This extra rhyme, along with the rhymes at the ends of the lines, creates the effect  of…

4) Lines 5-6 are some of the only lines in this poem that actually use concrete imagery – “sun and candle-light” . The poet uses different kinds of light to express her……. It is effective because…..

5) Lines 7-9 use anaphora, beginning with the same phrase, “I love thee,” as do lines two, five, and eleven. The effect of this parallel structure emphasizes that the poem is…..

6) One of the first things we notice about the sound of this poem is that it’s repetitive; instead of using synonyms for love. ‘Love’ is used nine times because…

Key Strategies (IGCSE) 

AO2: Understand the meanings of literary texts and their contexts, and explore texts beyond surface

meanings to show deeper awareness of ideas and attitudes;

AO3: Recognise and appreciate ways in which writers use language, structure, and form to create and shape meanings and effects;

AO4: Communicate a sensitive and informed personal response to literary texts.

Key Questions What are the language devices employed by the poet and why are they effective?  





Some biographical details on Elizabeth Barrett-Browning. Stick the poem in the anthology. Close with the reading of the poem.



Find any two quotations on love and discuss why you find the words appealing.