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Sonnets.    ”A sonnet by any other name would sound as sweet…”. What is “iambic pentameter?” A.) A single file line of five people, each person with two feet. B.) A ten syllable line, consisting of five iambic feet. What is a “sonnet?” A.) a poem consisting 10 lines.

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   ”A sonnet by any other name would sound as sweet…”

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What is “iambic pentameter?”

A.) A single file line of five people, each person with two feet.

B.) A ten syllable line, consisting of five iambic feet.

What is a “sonnet?”

A.) a poem consisting 10 lines.

B.) a poem consisting of 14 lines

What are the main types of sonnets?

A.) English and Italian

B.) Shakespearean and Petrarchan

C.) Both A and B.

What is a poetic “foot?”

A.) the most important line in the poem

B.) The last line in a poem

C.) A group of two syllables.


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Pretest continued

  • Identify the following as true or false.

    • An Octave is a sentence with eight syllables.

    • A Quatrain is a stanza of four lines.

    • The sestet is found at the end of the sonnet.

    • “Volta” is another name for the title.

    • A couplet is a group of three lines.

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What is a Sonnet?

  • A very structured type of poetry in which the author attempts to show two related but differing things to the reader in order to communicate something about them.

  • Developed in Italy, probably in the

    thirteenth century.

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Sonnets (cont.)

  • Almost always consists of fourteen lines and follows one of several set rhyme schemes:

    • English (Shakespearean)

    • Italian (Petrarchan)

    • Spenserian

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Sonnet Vocabulary

  • Quatrain:

    • A stanza of four lines.

  • Octave:

    • An eight line stanza. Used primarily to denote the first eight-line division of the Italian Sonnet as separate from the last six-line division, the sestet.

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Vocab. (cont.)

  • Sestet:

    • The second six-line division of an Italian Sonnet. Following the eight-line division (octave), the sestet usually makes specific a general statement that has been presented in the octave or indicates the personal emotion of the author in a situation that the octave has developed.

  • Volta:

    • The turn in thought– from question to answer, problem to solution– that occurs at the beginning of the sestet (line 9) in the Italian sonnet. Sometimes occurs in the English sonnet between the twelfth and thirteenth lines. Marked by “but,” “yet,” or “and yet.”

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Italian Sonnets (Petrarchan)

  • Distinguished by its division into the octave and sestet:

    • The octave rhyming abbaabba

    • The sestet rhyming cdecde, cdcdcdor cdedce

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More on Italian Sonnets…

  • The octave typically:

    • Presents a narrative

    • States a preposition

    • Or raises a question

  • The sestet:

    • drives home the narrative by making an abstract comment

    • applies the preposition

    • or solves the problem.

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English Sonnets (Shakespearean)

  • Four divisions are used:

    • Three quatrains

      • Each with a rhyme scheme of its own, usually rhyming alternating lines.

    • And a rhymed concluding couplet.

  • The typical rhyme scheme is

    • Abab cdcd efef gg

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English (cont.)

  • each quatrain develops a specific idea, but one closely related to the ideas in the other quatrains.

  • Not only is the English sonnet the easiest in terms of its rhyme scheme, calling for only pairs of rhyming words rather than groups of 4, but it is the most flexible in terms of the placement of the volta. Shakespeare often places the "turn," as in the Italian, at L9

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  • The Spenserian sonnet, invented by Edmund Spenser, complicates the Shakespearean form, linking rhymes among the quatrains:

    • Abab bcbc cdcd ee

    • there does not appear to be a requirement that the initial octave sets up a problem that the closing sestet "answers", as is the case with a Petrarchan sonnet.

  • The Spenserian Sonnet is very rare among modern poets.

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Identify the Type of Sonnet

  • The spring returns, the spring wind softly blowing

    Sprinkles the grass with gleam and glitter of showers, Powdering pearl and diamond, dripping with flowers, Dropping wet flowers, dancing the winters going; The swallow twitters, the groves of midnight are glowing With nightingale music and madness; the sweet fierce powers Of love flame up through the earth; the seed-soul towers And trembles; nature is filled to overflowing… The spring returns, but there is no returning Of spring for me. O heart with anguish burning! She that unlocked all April in a breath Returns not…And these meadows, blossoms, birds These lovely gentle girls—words, empty words As bitter as the black estates of death!

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Identify the Type of Sonnet

  • 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 all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines,By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;But thy eternal summer shall not fadeNor lose possession of that fair thou owest;Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,When in eternal lines to time thou growest: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,So long lives this and this gives life to thee.