- Slides: 11
DEVELOPMENT OF THE SONNET The sonnet originated in Italy in the 13 th century and comes from the Italian word for “little song” The Italian poet Petrarch (1304 -1374) perfected the Italian sonnet, which is often called the Petrarchan sonnet Wrote over 300 sonnets dedicated to a beautiful, but unobtainable woman, Laura Petrarch felt that the sonnet was a perfect medium for expressing emotions, especially love due to its brevity and musical rhymes
DEVELOPMENT OF THE SONNET The story of sonnets in England begins with the lovelorn poet, Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503 -1542) Rumored to be in love with Anne Boleyn, he translated some of Petrarch’s sonnets and wrote a few of his own in a slight modification of the Italian form. With the Renaissance in England, there was an awakened interest in Italian literature and King Henry VIII encouraged the poetry of courtly love and welcomed the sonnet as a poetic form
DEVELOPMENT OF THE SONNET Building on Wyatt’s modifications, Henry Howard (1517 -1547) changed the rhyme scheme to adapt it to fit the English language, distinguishing the English sonnet from the Italian sonnet. Ultimately, the English sonnet form became known as the Shakespearean sonnet because William Shakespeare used it with such distinction.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE SONNET By the time Shakespeare’s sonnets were published in 1609, the conventions of love sonnets had been firmly established by Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella (1591) and Edmund Spenser’s Amoretti (1595) Other sonnet writers include: John Donne, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William Wordsworth, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Edna St. Vincent Millay. The sonnet is still in use today for powerful, short, poetic statements about themes such as love, death, war, and religion.
WHAT IS A SONNET? 14 -line lyric poem with a complicated rhyme scheme and defined structure. Written in Iambic Pentameter Can be divided into an eight-line octave and a six-line sestet (Petrarchan sonnet) Can be divided into three four-line quatrains and a two-line couplet (Shakespearean sonnet) Expresses a single idea, but the division into different sections allows the poet to switch the focus and deal with different aspects of the idea in each section The form has challenged English writers since it was introduced to England over 500 years ago
THE PETRARCHAN SONNET Divided into an octave (the first 8 lines) and a sestet (the last 6 lines) The rhyme scheme of the octave is usually ABBA The rhyme scheme of the sestet is usually CDCDCD or CDECDE The octave typically introduces the speaker’s situation, while the sestet resolves it, draws conclusions about it, or expresses a reaction to it This shift in thought is known as the volta, or turn
THE SHAKESPEAREAN SONNET Divided into 3 quatrains (groups of 4 lines) and a rhyming couplet (2 lines) Generally, the first quatrain introduces a situation, which is explored in the next 2 quatrains Often a turn, or shift in thought (known as the volta) occurs at the 3 rd quatrain or at the couplet The couplet resolves the situation and often summarizes the main theme or idea of the sonnet The rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG
SHAKESPEARE SONNET ANALYSIS Shakespeare wrote most of his sonnets as a young man while he was acting, writing plays, promoting other playwrights, and managing theatres Sonnets were published in 1609, likely by a publisher who stole his manuscript At the time, sonnets were regarded as personal poems and not intended for publication § Sonnets 1 -126 are addressed to a beautiful young man and express a wide range of topics from poetry, painting, music, nobility, time, and others. § Sonnets 127 -152 focus on a mysterious, dark woman who is fascinating, but treacherous; the poet’s passions become more personal and intense compared to the friendship displayed in the first batch § The last two sonnets seem inconsequential; they are imitations of
IAMBIC PENTAMETER § Iamb – a foot of poetry consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable § For example – de. LIGHT, for. LORN, re. LEASE, etc. § Pentameter – a line of poetry consisting of 5 feet or 5 sets of stressed and unstressed syllables § In basic Iambic Pentameter, a line would have 5 feet of iambs: da DUM da DUM § Iambic pentameter is a rhythm that is natural to the English language and was used frequently by Shakespeare
LOVE IN SHAKESPEARE’S SONNETS & FAMOUS SONNETS Shakespeare wrote about many different aspects of love as well as many different forms of love; within the sonnets, there is no single definition of love presented, but they represent some of the finest expressions of love in the English language Some of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets include: Sonnet 18 – about the immortal power of poetry and the beauty of the fair young man Sonnet 30 – about aging and love and the things people agonize over as they age Sonnet 33 – about the loss of a loved one Sonnet 73 – a narrator who is approaching death discusses aging through the imagery of nature Sonnet 116 – Provides two definitions of love and discusses the nature of true love Sonnet 130 – focuses on real, rather than idealized beauty