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E211 Sir Walter Ralegh Questions
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ENGLISH 211 SIR WALTER RALEGH QUESTIONS

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Assigned: "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" (Norton Vol. B, 1024-25); "What is our life? (1025); "...to His Son" (1025); "The Lie" (1026-27); "Farewell, False Love" (1028); "Methought I saw the grave where Laura lay" (1028-29); "Nature, that washed her hands in milk" (1029-30); "The Author's Epitaph..." (1030); from The discovery of the large, rich, and beautiful Empire of Guiana (1030-33) and The History of the World (1033-34)

General Question

1. Explain, with reference to a few of Ralegh's poems and prose selections that deal with the subject of death ("The Author's Epitaph, Made by Himself" and selection from The History of the World -- Conclusion: "On Death," "What is our life?") what his attitude towards it seems to be.

"The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd"

2. In "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd," sum up the Nymph's objection to the Shepherd's courting song -- what are her main reasons for rejecting it? Study Marlowe's original poem in Volume 1B so you can refer to it in your response.

"The Lie"

3. In Elizabethan parlance, what does "giving the lie" to someone mean? What consequence is to be expected after giving another person the lie? How does this phrase work in "The Lie"?

4. If you put all the objects of Ralegh's speaker's criticism in "The Lie" together, what outlook on life do you come up with? Compare this outlook to what you find in one of Sir Thomas Wyatt's poems -- for example, "Mine own John Poins" (Norton Vol. B, 659-61).

"Farewell, False Love," "Methought I saw the grave where Laura lay," "Nature, that washed her hands in milk"

5. Like many fellow courtiers, Ralegh is well versed in Petrarchan conventions and poses. What use of Petrarchan assumptions about love, beauty, and poetic immortality does he make in one or more of these poems?

From The discovery of the large, rich, and beautiful Empire of Guiana

6. What is the main rhetorical emphasis of this selection from The discovery of the large, rich, and beautiful Empire of Guiana -- what is it designed to do? What points about Guiana does the author enlist in service of this goal?

7. On the whole, what stance does Ralegh adopt in The discovery of the large, rich, and beautiful Empire of Guiana towards the native people of Guiana?

Edition: Greenblatt, Stephen and Carol T. Christ. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 9th. edition. Package 1: Vols. A, B, C. Paperback. Norton: 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0393913002.


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