Total Pageviews

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Definition, Types and Examples of Sonnet -Literary Terms

Tags: sonnet definition, Shakespearean sonnet, Petrarchan sonnet, what is sonnet, sonnet examples, Italian sonnet, sonnet rhyme scheme, Spenserian sonnet

Definition, Types and Examples of Sonnet  -Literary Terms

- - - - - - 


A fourteen-line LYRIC poem in IAMBIC PENTAMETER. The sonnet originated in thirteenth-century Italy, was developed by the Italian poet Petrarch and was brought to England by Sir Thomas Wyatt. The sonnet was modified greatly by the Earl of Surrey and by William Shakespeare and, to a lesser extent, by poets since Shakespeare. The two most important types of sonnets are the Italian (Petrarchan) and the Shakespearean (English).

The Italian sonnet is organized into two parts--an OCTAVE, . consisting of the first eight lines and rhyming abba, abba; and a SESTET, the remaining six lines, which usually rhyme cde, cde. There may be variations in the RHYME SCHEME of the sestet. The octave establishes a THEME or poses a problem that is developed or resolved in the sestet. John Milton, in his famous sonnet “On His Blindness,” uses indentation to emphasize the Italian pattern and begins his new line of thought early in line eight:

When I consider how my light is spent,

Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,

And that one Talent which is death to hide,

Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest he returning chide;

Doth God exact day-labour, light denied,

I fondly ask; But patience to prevent

That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need

Either man's work or his own gifts; who best

Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best, his state

Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed

And post o'er Land and Ocean without rest:

They also serve who only stand and wait.

The rhyme scheme of the Shakespearean sonnet, abab, cdcd, efef, gg, is looser than that of the Italian sonnet, allowing for seven different RHYMES instead of five. Since rhymes are harder to find in English than in Italian, most writers of sonnets in English have used the Shakespearean form. Although the content of the Shakespearean sonnet sometimes follows the Petrarchan organization, usually it develops through three QUATRAINS, followed by the conclusive, often epigrammatic, comment of the final COUPLET, as in this famous sonnet by Shakespeare:

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

I summon up remembrance of things past,

I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,

And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste.

 Then can I drown an eye, unus'd to flow,

For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,

And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,

And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight

Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,

And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er

The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan

Which I new pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restor'd and sorrows end.

The relative brevity and rigidity of the sonnet FORM challenges the poet's concentration of thought, exactness of expression, and skill in working with a rigid rhyme scheme.

Among the greatest sonnet writers in English have been Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, Shakespeare, John Donne, John Milton, William Wordsworth, John Keats, D. G. Rossetti, Henry W. Longfellow, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elinor Wylie, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and W. H. Auden.

Tags: sonnet definition, shakespearean sonnet, petrarchan sonnet, what is sonnet, sonnet examples, italian sonnet, sonnet rhyme scheme, spenserian sonnet

No comments:

Post a Comment