Anne Hathaway

Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture; Item I gyve and bequeath to my saied daughter Judith my broad silver gilt bole.


All the rest of my goodes Chattels, Leases, plate, jewles and Household stuffe whatsoever after my dettes and Legasies paied and my funerall expences discharged, I gyve devise and bequeath to my Sonne in Lawe John Hall gent and my daughter Susanna his wife.

I have been remiss in posting recently so I thought I’d share some of the lessons I’ve taught on the Literature poems from the AQA anthology.


Give students the extract from Shakespeare’s Will. What do they think about how Shakespeare felt about Anne? Do they think he loved her?


Students re-order the poem using what they know about poems and their structure etc. Feedback and discuss what order they’ve put the poem into and why. Read the poem. Dicuss the differences between their poem and Duffy’s – which works best?

Main Activities:

  • Read the poem again and ask students to think about what the poem is about. Ask them to pick the line (or part of a line) that they think best shows what this poem is about. Ask them to tell the people next to them the line that they have picked and why. Get students to put their hands up if they’ve picked something different to the person next to them (expect to see a lot of hands – demonstrating that it’s OK to have different interpretations and in fact, that’s what examiners want.) Hear a few.
  • Ask students if they think the tone of the poem changes at any point. If so, on which word does it change and why/how? Hear a few. Ask students if they want to hear the ‘right’ answer…tell them that there isn’t a ‘right’ answer but the comments they just made about when the tone changed would be FANTASTIC in an essay. Hopefully students will pick out that there’s a change in tone on the rhyming couplet. Duffy has used the rhyming couplet at the end as it is similar to Shakespeare’s modification of the sonnet – the hyphen before the couple acts a something of a dramatic gesture and separates the descriptions of Shakespeare alive with Anne’s acknowledgement that he can only live on in her imagination now that he is dead.
  • Ask students if they can tell you anything about what kind of poem it is (sonnet). Ask students why they think Duffy has used the sonnet form (homage?).
  • Discuss the use of the epigraph. What’s the purpose? What effect does it have?
  • Work together to pick out all of the metaphors in the poem. Write these up on the board. Studnets select one metaphor each and draw a visual representation of it (either in their books or for display).
  • What do these metaphors tell us about how Duffy presents Anne and Shakespeare’s relationship?


What’s the significance of Shakespeare giving the bed to Anne? Have students changed their mind about whether Shakespeare love Anne Hathaway?


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