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Sonnets. Three Types of Sonnets. *Italian/ Petrarchan. *Spenserian. *Shakespearean. SIMILARITIES. 1. 14 lines. 2. End rhyme – last word/syllable of line. 3. Subject = Love. 4. Speaker = Man to the woman he loves. 5. Problem/Situation. 6. Turn – change in focus, thought, or attitude.

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Three Types of Sonnets






1. 14 lines

2. End rhyme – last word/syllable of line

3. Subject = Love

4. Speaker = Man to the woman he loves

5. Problem/Situation

6. Turn – change in focus, thought, or attitude

7. Resolution – solution or acceptance of



Italian/Petrarchan Sonnet

*Francesco Petrarch (1301-1374)

*dedicated to Laura, woman he loved

*ideal of virtue & beauty



*indifferent to poet


Italian/Petrarchan Sonnet Structure

1 OCTAVE (8 lines)

~ describes situation/problem

~ rhyme scheme (abbaabba)

1 SESTET (6 lines)

~ turn & resolution

~ rhyme scheme (cdecde)


Shakespearean & Spenserian Sonnets


3 Quatrians (4 lines)

* Problem/Situation (Q 1-2)

* Turn (Q 3)

Concluding Couplet (2 lines)

* Resolution


Shakespearean & Spenserian Sonnets

Shakespearean vs. Spenserian

William Shakespeare

Edmund Spenser

Rhyme Scheme

Rhyme Scheme

Quatrain 1 (abab)

Quatrain 2 (cdcd)

Quatrian 3 (efef)

Couplet (gg)

Quatrain 1 (abab)

Quatrain 2 (bcbc)

Quatrian 3 (cdcd)

Couplet (ee)

quiz sonnets1
Quiz - Sonnets

1. All of the following elements are characteristic of an English sonnet except

a. introduction of the subject in the first few lines

b. fourteen lines

c. free verse

d. iambic pentameter

quiz sonnets continued
Quiz – Sonnets continued

2. The English sonnet forms originated in

a. the plays of Shakespeare

b. the Spenserian conceit

c. the Italian sonnets of Petrarch

d. the Renaissance love songs

quiz sonnets continued1
Quiz – Sonnets continued

3. What is another name for the Petrarchan sonnet?

a. the Italian sonnet

b. the Heptameter sonnet

c. the English sonnet

d. the Octavian sonnet

quiz sonnets continued2
Quiz – Sonnets continued

4. The Shakespearean sonnet consists of

a. one octave and one sestet

b. three quatrains and one couplet

c. two tercets and one cinquain

d. one sestet and four couplets

quiz sonnets continued3
Quiz – Sonnets continued

5. Which of the following is the rhyme scheme of a Petrarchan sonnet?

a. abba, cddc, abba, cddc, ee ff

b. abab, cdcd, efef, gg

c. abba, cdcd, abba, efef, ffgg

d. abba, abba, cde, cde

quiz sonnets continued4
Quiz – Sonnets continued

6. The sonnets of Shakespeare and Spenser can be distinguished from one another by

a. the couplet at the end of Shakespearean sonnets

b. the rhyme scheme

c. the turn after the first eight lines

d. Spenser’s use of iambic pentameter

quiz sonnets continued5
Quiz – Sonnets continued

7. Which of the following writers was one of the earliest masters of the sonnet?

a. Elizabeth Barrett Browning

b. John Keats

c. Edmund Spenser

d. Robert Lowell

quiz sonnets continued6
Quiz – Sonnets continued

8. Which of the following is the rhyme scheme of a Shakespearean sonnet?

a. abba, abba, cde, cde

b. abba, cdcd, abba, efef, ffgg

c. abba, cddc, abba, cddc, ee ff

d. abab, cdcd, efef, gg

quiz sonnets continued7
Quiz – Sonnets continued

9. A turn can best be described as

a. the change or shift that occurs after the first eight lines of a sonnet

b. the first quatrain in a Shakespearean sonnet

c. a conceit in a Petrarchan sonnet

d. the main idea that is expressed in the first eight lines of a sonnet

quiz sonnets continued8
Quiz – Sonnets continued

10. The last group of lines in a sonnet usually

a. has different meter than the rest of the poem

b. comments on the subject of the poem

c. rhymes with the first two lines of the poem

d. introduces a new subject