William Shakespeare – Sonnet 29 (Practice Questions)

Questions 1 through 12 refer to the following poem. Read the poem carefully and then choose the answers to the questions.

Sonnet 29

When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least.
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

William Shakespeare


Want to study poem before solving the questions? Click on Summary of Sonnet 29


1. This sonnet is concerned with
(A) the misfortunes that plague everyone
(B) the beauty of a new morning
(C) how the thought of the speaker’s beloved can change one’s mood
(D) the speaker’s envy of other peoples’ lives
(E) the resentment that heaven has given the speaker a poor lot in life

2. Which of the following choices best describes the mood of lines 1 through 8?
(A) Joy
(B) Anger
(C) Resignation
(D) Frustration
(E) Self-pity

3. What is the tone of the last six lines?
(A) Despair
(B) Elation
(C) Heartache
(D) Confidence
(E) Calmness

4. The first two quatrains express distinct but related thoughts. What are they?
(A) The first quatrain expresses the speaker’s extreme dissatisfaction with himself; the second, envy of others’ happier lives.
(B) The first quatrain expresses the speaker’s dissatisfaction, and the second presents a solution.
(C) The first quatrain shows that the speaker is very religious, and the second expresses his contentment with life.
(D) The first quatrain shows how envious of others the speaker is, and the second, his love of nature and beauty.
(E) The first quatrain speaks of his dissatisfaction and envy, and the second tells of his beloved.

5. What is the meaning of the phrase “trouble deaf heaven” in line 3?
(A) The heavens are in turmoil.
(B) People are deaf to the will of God.
(C) God’s will falls on deaf ears.
(D) Troubled times are not heard in heaven.
(E) One prays, but God does not hear.

6. Which lines summarize the theme of the sonnet?
(A) The final couplet
(B) The first quatrain
(C) The second quatrain
(D) Lines 10 through 12
(E) Lines 2 through 8

7. What does the poet mean when he writes “that man’s scope”?
(A) The man has made a profit in business.
(B) By chance, the man has made a fortune.
(C) The man is strong and handsome.
(D) The man is very intelligent.
(E) The man owns a rare astronomical instrument.

8. The comparison of the speaker to a lark (lines 11–12) is appropriate because a lark
(A) flies upward the way the speaker’s mood improves
(B) rises up to heaven
(C) is fragile like a person’s ego
(D) is a symbol of goodwill
(E) sings its song as it sees the new day break

9. In lines 4 through 7, the speaker explains that he envies all of the following aspects of others EXCEPT
(A) hopefulness
(B) having many friends
(C) skill as an equestrian
(D) a handsome appearance
(E) intellectual ability

10. What rhyming words represent the d’s in the rhyme scheme?
(A) Eyes, cries
(B) Brings, kings
(C) Hope, scope
(D) State, gate
(E) Possessed, least

11. This sonnet is organized like a Petrarchan sonnet because
(A) it consists of three quatrains and a couplet
(B) an unhappy situation is presented in the octave and a response and solution occurs in the sestet
(C) it has the rhyme scheme of abab, cdcd, efef, gg
(D) it is written in iambic pentameter
(E) the solution is presented in the final couplet

12. Which of the following best summarizes the meaning of the first line of the sonnet?
(A) It is a time of good luck in dealing with other people.
(B) It is a time of despair.
(C) It is a time of change.
(D) It is a time when everyone is watching what the speaker is doing.
(E) It is a time of sorrow because the speaker’s wealth is gone.


Watch the Video for answers as well as explanation

MCQs on Sonnet 29 by Shakespeare | When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes

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