2.41: Reading and Review Questions
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1. How is learning synonymous with poetry, do you think? What does Sidney mean by delightful teaching?
2. Why does Sidney believe that poetry has a moral purpose? What are his arguments? What relation, if any, does poetry have to action, do you think, and why? How does his representation of the uses of art compare with Chaucer’s or Spenser’s?
3. To what degree, if any, does Sidney’s Protestantism factor into his reasons for defending poetry, and how?
4. The Defense includes amongst its characters Edward Wotton, a friend of Sidney; John Pietro Pugliano, the Italian riding master to the Emperor; and himself in his historical persona as Sir Philip Sidney, poet and courtier. How does he construct his role of poet in the Defense? How does he construct his role of courtier in the Defense? How are the two roles related, if at all, in the Defense? How does his self-depiction compare with Chaucer’s or More’s?
5. How does poetry build national identity, according to Sidney? What are his arguments? Do his views validate Spenser’s poetry in The Faerie Queene, for instance?