Sonnets A sonnet by any other name would sound as sweet What is a Sonnet? A very structured type of poetry in which the author attempts to show two related but differing things to the reader in order to communicate something about them. Developed in Italy, probably in the thirteenth century. A sonnet shows two related, contrasting things or ideas (e.g. life vs. death; youth vs. old age) to communicate something about them (offer a message) Sonnets (cont.)
Consists of fourteen lines and follows one of several set rhyme schemes: English (Shakespearean) Italian (Petrarchan) Spenserian Sonnet Vocabulary
Quatrain: A stanza of four lines. Octave: An eight line stanza. Used primarily to denote the first eight-line division of the Italian Sonnet as separate from the last six-line division, the sestet. Iambic pentameter: A ten syllable line, consisting of five iambic feet (alternating an unstressed/stressed pattern) Poetic Foot: A group of two syllables Vocab. (cont.) Sestet:
The second six-line division of an Italian Sonnet. Following the eight-line division (octave), the sestet usually makes specific a general statement that has been presented in the octave or indicates the personal emotion of the author in a situation that the octave has developed. Volta (The Turn): The turn in thought from question to answer, problem to solution that occurs at the beginning of the sestet (line 9) in the Italian sonnet. Sometimes occurs in the English sonnet between the twelfth and thirteenth lines. Marked by but, yet, or and yet. Italian Sonnets (Petrarchan)
Distinguished by its division into the octave and sestet: The octave rhyming abbaabba The sestet rhyming cdecde, cdcdcd or cdedce More on Italian Sonnets The octave typically:
Presents a narrative States a preposition Or raises a question The sestet: drives home the narrative by making an abstract comment
applies the preposition or solves the problem. English Sonnets (Shakespearean) Four divisions are used: Three quatrains Each with a rhyme scheme of its own, usually rhyming alternating lines. And a rhymed concluding couplet. The typical rhyme scheme is Abab cdcd efef gg English (cont.) each quatrain develops a specific idea, but
one closely related to the ideas in the other quatrains. Not only is the English sonnet the easiest in terms of its rhyme scheme, calling for only pairs of rhyming words rather than groups of 4, but it is the most flexible in terms of the placement of the volta. Shakespeare often places the "turn," as in the Italian, at L9 The two major sonnet forms: Petrarchan (Italian) A B B A A
B B A C D E C D E Octave (8 lines) The TURN Sestet (6 lines) Shakespearean (English) A B
A B C D C D E F E F G G 3 quatrains The TURN Rhyming Couplet Spenserian
The Spenserian sonnet, invented by Edmund Spenser, complicates the Shakespearean form, linking rhymes among the quatrains: Abab bcbc cdcd ee there does not appear to be a requirement that the initial octave sets up a problem that the closing sestet "answers", as is the case with a Petrarchan sonnet. The Spenserian Sonnet is very rare among modern poets.
Works Cited mrslivaudais.com/wp-content/uploads/.../ An-Introduction-to-Sonnets.ppt www.rhs.rcs.k12.tn.us/teachers/starrettk/ Sonnets.ppt
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