What is a Sonnet? Understanding the forms, meter, rhyme, and other aspects of the sonnet.
Sonnet Form • A sonnet has 14 lines. • A sonnet must be written in iambic pentameter. • A sonnet must follow a specific rhyme scheme, depending on the type of sonnet. • A sonnet can be about any subject, though they are often about love or nature. • A sonnet introduces a problem or question in the beginning, and a resolution is offered after the turn.
Iambic Pentameter • A line of Iambic Pentameter is a line with ten beats. • An “Iamb” is two beats, or one “foot.” • “Penta” is five (line has five “feet”). • “Meter” is the rhythm of the poem. • A “foot” is made of an unstressed syllable and a stressed syllable (in that order).
English Sonnet • An English Sonnet is also called a Shakespearean Sonnet. • It includes three quatrains (groups of four lines) and a couplet (two lines). • The rhyme scheme is often abab cdcd efef gg. • The turn is either after eight lines or ten lines.
"Sonnet XXIX" When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes, A I all alone beweep my outcast state, B And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, A And look upon myself and curse my fate, B Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, C Featured like him, like him with friends possessed, D Desiring this man's art and that man's scope, C With what I most enjoy contented least, D Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising, E Haply I think on thee, and then my state, F (Like to the lark at break of day arising E From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate, F For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings, G That then I scorn to change my state with kings. G
Italian Sonnet • An Italian Sonnet is also called a Petrarchan Sonnet. • It includes an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). • The rhyme scheme must begin with abbaabba, and can conclude with any variation of c, d, and e (cdecde, cdcdee, etc.). • The turn (volta) in subject matter or response must occur between the octave and the sestet.
London, 1802 Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour: A England hath need of thee: she is a fen B Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen, B Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower, A Have forfeited their ancient English dower A Of inward happiness. We are selfish men; B Oh! raise us up, return to us again; B And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power. A Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart; C Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea: D Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free, D So didst thou travel on life's common way, E In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart C The lowliest duties on herself did lay. E
Spenserian Sonnet • Invented by Edmond Spencer • It includes three quatrains (12 lines) and a couplet. • The rhyme scheme is abab bcbc cdcd ee • The turn is the couplet.
"Sonnet LIV" Of this World's theatre in which we stay, A My love like the Spectator idly sits, B Beholding me, that all the pageants play, A Disguising diversely my troubled wits. B Sometimes I joy when glad occasion fits, B And mask in mirth like to a Comedy; C Soon after when my joy to sorrow flits, B I wail and make my woes a Tragedy. C Yet she, beholding me with constant eye, C Delights not in my mirth nor rues my smart; D But when I laugh, she mocks: and when I cry C She laughs and hardens evermore her heart. D What then can move her? If nor mirth nor moan, E She is no woman, but a senseless stone. E
TP-CASTT • Let us now review the TP-CASTT. • The real question: Why are sonnets written in form and how does their structure, figurative language, and imagery influence meaning?
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 damasked, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That 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.