The Sonnet Adapted from PBS.org, Cliffs notes, Ms. Hurt, McDougal Littell’s The Language of Literature: British Literature
History of the Sonnet • Invented by Italian poet Francesco Petrarch in 1327; smitten with Laura. • Petrarch expressed his unrequited love for this woman in his sonnets. • The Italian sonnet is usually referred to as the Petrarchan sonnet.
The Petrarchan Sonnet consists of… • an octave (8 lines) that tells a story, introduces a situation, or raises a question. • A sestet (6 lines) that comment on the story, situation or question. • Rhyme scheme: ABBA ABBA CDE CDE
The English Sonnet • Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, introduced the form sonnet into England. • Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, John Donne and John Milton wrote sonnets. • William Shakespeare perfected it.
The English or Shakespearean Sonnet is • A poem written in iambic pentameter • With 3 quatrains and 1 couplet • Rhyme scheme: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
The Quatrain • Four rhyming lines (ABAB) of poetry • First quatrain reflects theme of sonnet; introduces situation • Second and third quatrains develop, vary or expand the theme. A turn sometimes occurs in the third quatrain.
The Couplet • Two rhyming lines (GG) of poetry • Either summarizes the previous 12 lines, provides a resolution, a turn or shift in thought, or • Presents a surprise ending (Reversal)
Themes of a sonnet • Love: unrequited, desperate, eternal or tragic • Praise of Beauty • Old Age • Conformity • Gaining Immortality through the poem • Life Like a Play
What have you learned? • History of sonnet • Octave • Sestet • Quatrain • Couplet • Rhyme Scheme • Themes of sonnet
Now, You Practice! • Textbook: pages 303 and 309 • Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 29 and Petrarch’s Sonnet 169 • Identify the following: rhyme scheme, octave, sestet, quatrain, couplet. • Identify the theme of the sonnet and the poet’s resolution or comment. • State your opinion of poem’s message.