Essay Comparison: Petrarchan and Shakespearean Sonnets

Essay Comparison: Petrarchan and Shakespearean Sonnets

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Through the form of sonnet, Shakespeare and Petrarch both address the subject of love, yet there are key contrasts in their style, structure, and in the manner, each approaches their subjects. Moreover, in "Sonnet 130," Shakespeare, in fact, parodies Petrarch's style and thoughts as his storyteller describes his mistress, whose "eyes are in no way as the sun" (Shakespeare 1918). Through his English poem, Shakespeare seems to mock the exaggerated descriptions expanded throughout Petrarch’s work by portraying the speaker’s love in terms that are characteristic of a flawed woman not a goddess. On the other hand, upon a review of "Sonnet 292" from the Canzoniere, through “Introduction to Literature and Arts,” one quickly perceives that Petrarch's work is full of symbolism. However, Petrarch’s utilization of resemblance and the romanticizing of Petrarch's female subject are normal for the Petrarchan style.
The leading major contrast between the two poems is revealed in the difference in structure for their pieces. Petrarch's "Sonnet 292" is composed in the Italian 14-line poem structure comprising an eight-line octave. It also contains six-line sestet. The fundamental characteristics for the Petrarchan poem structure is the two-part structure. To attain this, the author divides the eight-line octave into two four-line stanzas and the sestet into two three-line stanzas. This structure takes into account improvement of two parts of the subject, expanding the point of view of the piece. While some rhyme plot remains after the interpretation of the lyrics from Italian, it does not provide a correct representation of the definitive complexity of Petrarch's work and message found in the original Italian form of the sonnet (McLaughlin). The...


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...de to World Literature. Ed. Lesley Henderson. 2nd ed. New York: St. James, 1995. N. page. Literature Resource Center. Web. 22 Nov. 2013. .
Petrarch, Francesco. “Sonnet 90.” The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. 8th ed.,
Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. 1905. Print
Shakespeare, William. “Sonnet 130.” The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. 8th ed.,
Vol. 1. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. 1918. Print

Steele, Felicia Jean. "Shakespeare's SONNET 130." Explicator 62.3 (2004): 132-137. Academic Search Complete. Web. 22 Nov. 2013.
"“Wounded by One of Love’s Arrows”: Petrarch and Courtly Love." ReoCitiie. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Nov. 2013. .

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