Study Questions #5: Isabella Whitney 1. In her mock testament, the speaker assumes the role of a dying citizen saying her poetic farewell. How is this will very different from a real will? 2. Whitney’s speaker (a maidservant without a job) calls attention in her mock poetic will to the many luxuries a poor woman in London in the sixteenth and early-seventeenth centuries never had the privilege of owning or buying. This woman is also without a husband or a house. How does Whitney adopt the genre of the testament to highlight the speaker’s relationship with money and other material goods? 3. The poem’s speaker imagines her impending disappearance from London presumably due to financial straits. Although poor, though, she wills London’s own commodities to itself. What is Whitney trying to emphasize by this ironic act? 4. If the writer of the will is forced to leave London, who will stand to profit and why from her departure/demise? 5.
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seventeenth century, women poets, 17th-century women writers