Poetry Analysis – Whoso List to Hunt

Topics: Sonnet, Poetry, Thomas Wyatt Pages: 3 (1128 words) Published: November 28, 2010
Poetry Analysis – Whoso List To Hunt

“Whoso List To Hunt” is a Petrarchan sonnet by Thomas Wyatt, which is known as an Italian sonnet, consisting of an octave and a sestet. This sonnet revolves around the themes of unrequited love, sexism, complexity, obsession and passion. Wyatt uses a collection of poetic techniques within the sonnet in order to display the power and desire the man has for the woman. The structure of this sonnet corresponds to a Petrarchan sonnet. This is identified by the rhyming scheme “abba abba cde cde”. The sonnet is constructed by an octave, which are two quatrains combined then a sestet following after that. “Whoso List To Hunt” was based in the English Renaissance period during the late 15th century to the mid 17th century. ‘Humanism’ was a movement at the time which displayed the importance of ethics, human dignity, concerns, values and freedom. King Henry VIII had assigned Wyatt as his diplomat whom translated some Italian sonnets and adapted others. Wyatt’s piece “Whoso List to Hunt” is one of his most well known sonnets, concerning his obsession and infatuation with Anne Boleyn, a woman who later had married King Henry VIII. He demonstrates aspects of the “Code of Chivalry” expressing knighthood qualities such as bravery, courtesy, honor, and respect when pursuing the woman. Wyatt refers Anne Boleyn to a ‘hind’ translated to as female deer, in which he attempts to ‘hunt and catch’. This also represents the theme of ‘sexism’ where the portrayal of a woman as an animal from the forest being hunted illustrates the low esteem in which women were often viewed in Elizabethan society. Also Wyatt comparing a woman to a deer automatically refers her to a ‘sexual object’, which is considered to be very inappropriate at the time. Nevertheless throughout the sonnet a shift of power and supremacy is altered, where the woman is seen to have the authority leaving the man abandoned and feeble. The first quatrain, Wyatt addresses the readers and...
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