What is your substance, whereof are you made?

Date of Award


Document Type

Senior Scholars Paper (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. English Dept.


Elizabeth Sagaser

Second Advisor

Cedric Gael Bryant

Third Advisor

Judy Stone


As an eager an untutored youth I boldly asserted-Iast April-that I would memorize all of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets. One full year later, I have committed a little over 80 sonnets to memory in addition to the lines of the lead role Leontes in "A Winter's Tale." Though I did not internalize all of Shakespeare's sonnets, my Senior Scholar's project has been a triumph an year Iong. In fact, l have not only accomplished the four goals I set out to achieve, but have completed a fifth vital goal, too - sharing and teaching the sonnets to students young and old. First, I memorized 80 of the sonnets so thoroughly, that to this day I can recite on request - and by number - any of the 80 sonnets from memory. Second, I have completed a detailed journal/commentary of the sonnet sequence, based upon close reading, secondary research, and my own understanding of Shakespeare's mind and craft. Third, I have presented Shakespeare's sonnets in a series of different performances throughout the 2001-2002 calendar year culminating in a final performance in which I recited any of the 80 sonnets I had learned on audience request. Fourth, I have completed not one, but two CD's; one that showcases sonnets put to song, and an additional fully produced CD that includes original songs informed by the story and situation 'behind Shakespeare's sonnets. Finally, I have performed sonnets and catalyzed discussion in Colby classrooms, on Colby's WMHB radio station, and in Ms. Fowler's fifth grade classroom at the Albert S. Hail School.


Shakespeare, sonnets, songs


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