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William Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Explicating Poetry: 5 Steps. 1- Examine the situation in the poem 2- Examine the structure in the poem 3- Examine the language in the poem 4- Examine the musical devices in the poem 5- Write about your conclusions!. William Shakespeare. c. 1564-1616

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explicating poetry 5 steps
Explicating Poetry: 5 Steps
  • 1- Examine the situation in the poem
  • 2- Examine the structure in the poem
  • 3- Examine the language in the poem
  • 4- Examine the musical devices in the poem
  • 5- Write about your conclusions!
william shakespeare
William Shakespeare
  • c. 1564-1616
  • b. Stratford-upon-Avon, England
  • Wrote during Renaissance time period
  • Time of metaphysical and carpe diem poetry
shakespearean sonnets
Shakespearean Sonnets

1609 Quarto only source of most 152 Shakespearean Sonnets.

There are 3 categories of poems in this Quarto:

1-126 are addressed to The Fair Youth

127-152 are addressed to The Dark Mistress

A Lover’s Complaint a 329 line poem written in Rhyme Royal (a-b-a-b-b-c-c)

shakespeare s addressees
Shakespeare’s Addressees
  • The Fair Youth (sonnets 1-126)
    • An unnamed young man
    • Written to in loving and romantic language
    • Some suggest this may be a homosexual love, others find support that it is platonic, or father-son love
  • The Dark Lady (sonnets 127-152)
    • Given this name because of she is described as being dark haired
    • The sonnets written about her express infatuation and are more sexual in nature
shakespearean sonnet form
Shakespearean Sonnet Form
  • Still 14 lines
  • Broken into 4 parts
    • 3 quatrains- 4 line stanza
    • 1 rhyming couplet- 2 line stanza
  • Written in iambic pentameter:

˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ /

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

shakespearean sonnet form8
Shakespearean Sonnet Form
  • Rhyme Scheme:
    • Quatrain 1: a b a b [introduces question]
    • Quatrain 2: c d c d [tentative
    • Quatrain 3: e f e f answers]
    • Rhyming Couplet: g g [final answer]
  • Volta:
    • The turn or transition in line 9 which marks a shift in focus or thought
sonnet 18
Sonnet 18

ABAB

CDCD

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath too short a date.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometimes declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed.

sonnet 1810
Sonnet 18

EFE

F

G

G

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,

Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st.

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Sonnet 18

sonnet 1811
Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? A QUESTION

Thou art more lovely and more temperate. B syntax

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, A imagery

And summer’s lease hath too short a date. B- near rhyme

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, C syntax

And often is his gold complexion dimmed; D personification-sun

And every fair from fair sometimes declines, C

By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed. D

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,E VOLTA- shift in tone

METAPHOR

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest, F

Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade E person. - death

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st. F

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, G ANAPHORA

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. G

sonnet 55
SONNET 55

Not marble nor the gilded monuments

Of princes shall outlive this pow\'rful rhyme,

But you shall shine more bright in these conténts

Than unswept stone, besmeared with sluttish time.

When wasteful war shall statues overturn,

And broils root out the work of masonry,

Nor Mars his sword, nor war’s quick fire, shall burn

The living record of your memory.

\'Gainst death and all oblivious enmity

Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room

Even in the eyes of all posterity

That wear this world out to the ending doom.

So till the judgment that yourself arise,  

You live in this, and dwell in lovers\' eyes.

sonnet 130
SONNET 130

My mistress\' eyes are nothing like the sun;Coral is far more red than her lips\' red;If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.I have seen roses damask\'d, red and white,But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delightThan in the breath that from my mistress reeks.I love to hear her speak, yet well I knowThat music hath a far more pleasing sound;I grant I never saw a goddess go;My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:   And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare   As any she belied with false compare.

sonnet 141
SONNET 141
  • In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,For they in thee a thousand errors note; But \'tis my heart that loves what they despise,Who in despite of view is pleased to dote; Nor are mine ears with thy tongue\'s tune delighted,Nor tender feeling, to base touches prone, Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited To any sensual feast with thee alone: But my five wits nor my five senses can Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee,Who leaves unsway\'d the likeness of a man, Thy proud hearts slave and vassal wretch to be: Only my plague thus far I count my gain, That she that makes me sin awards me pain.
sonnet 38
SONNET 38

How can my muse want subject to inventWhile thou dost breathe that pour\'st into my verse,Thine own sweet argument, too excellent,For every vulgar paper to rehearse?O give thy self the thanks if aught in me,Worthy perusal stand against thy sight,For who\'s so dumb that cannot write to thee,When thou thy self dost give invention light?Be thou the tenth Muse, ten times more in worthThan those old nine which rhymers invocate,And he that calls on thee, let him bring forthEternal numbers to outlive long date.If my slight muse do please these curious days,The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise.

edna st vincent millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • 1892-1950
  • American writer and feminist
  • Lived mostly in NYC during her career as a writer
  • Won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
  • Arguably the best sonnet writer of her time
petrarchan italian sonnets
Petrarchan (Italian) Sonnets

Developed by the Italian writer Francesco Petrarch

This form of sonnet typically addresses:

The subject of women

Often romantic poems

Often exaggerate the perfection of women

petrarchan italian sonnet form
Petrarchan (Italian) Sonnet Form
  • Still 14 lines
  • Broken into 2 parts
    • 1 octave—8 line stanza
    • 1 sestet– 6 line stanza
  • Usually written in iambic pentameter:

˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ /

 I will put Chaos into fourteen lines

petrarchan italian sonnet form19
Petrarchan (Italian) Sonnet Form
  • Rhyme Scheme:
    • Octave: a b b a a b b a [introduces problem/desire]
    • Sestet: c d e c d e [comments/provides solution]

OR c d c d c d

Volta:

    • The turn or transition in line 9 which marks a shift in focus or thought
edna st vincent millay20
Edna St. Vincent Millay

I will put Chaos into fourteen linesAnd keep him there; and let him thence escapeIf he be lucky; let him twist, and apeFlood, fire, and demon --- his adroit designsWill strain to nothing in the strict confinesOf this sweet order, where, in pious rape,I hold his essence and amorphous shape,Till he with Order mingles and combines.Past are the hours, the years of our duress,His arrogance, our awful servitude:I have him. He is nothing more nor lessThan something simple not yet understood;I shall not even force him to confess;Or answer. I will only make him good.

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