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Introduction to Sonnets
Transcript of Introduction to Sonnets
Spring 2011 What is a sonnet? The word sonnet means "little song" (i.e. a short lyrical poem).
In Renaissance Italy and Elizabethan England, the sonnet
became a fixed poetic form, consisting of 14 lines, usually
in iambic pentameter. In a sonnet, you show two related but differing
things to the reader in order to communicate
something about them. Each of the three major
types of sonnets accomplishes this in a somewhat
different way. Petrarchan or Italian Sonnet The Italian Sonnet is divided into two sections by
two different groups of rhyming scheme.
The first 8 lines are called the octave and rhyme:
a b b a a b b a
The remaining 6 lines is called the sestet and can
have either two or three rhyming sounds,
arranged in a variety of ways. The Spenserian Sonnet The Spenserian sonnet, invented by
Edmund Spenser, has the pattern:
a b a b b c b c c d c d e e The Shakespearian Sonnet
(or the English Sonnet) The English sonnet has the simplest and most
flexible pattern of all sonnets, consisting of
3 quatrains (4 lines) of alternating rhyme style
and a couplet (2 lines).
a b a b
c d c d
e f e f
g g Let's listen to an example of a
Shakespearian Sonnet! You have just listened to Sonnet 18.
This is one of the most famous sonnets
of all time! Now, let's discuss the various
figurative language devices Shakespeare
employed in his sonnet.