The Sonnet Essay

The Sonnet Essay

Length: 2860 words (8.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Sonnet

Explore aspects of the sonnet tradition through reference to a range
of material you have studied

The word ‘sonnet’ comes from the Italian word ‘sonnetto’ meaning
little sound or song. A sonnet is a special type of poem. The sonnet
is always 14 lines long and usually expresses the poets’ personal
feelings or thoughts; most often connected with love or death, which
are two of the most basic aspects of human existence. The poem
generally uses rhyme and metre to organise the poet’s ideas in a
formal way. There are several different types of sonnets which all
accomplish this in a slightly different style.

The Italian or Petrarchan sonnet was originally developed around 1350
by Petrarch, an Italian poet (1304-1374).

Petrarch had fallen madly in love with a woman named Laura, but she
was a married woman and refused to become his mistress. Petrarch wrote
poetry expressing the idea of courtly love and conveying his own
misery and his slavery to the love of Laura; a love denied. His verses
contain accusations about the fickleness of love, the timeless quality
of art and the hopelessness and devotion of eternal love.

The Italian sonnet is divided into two sections by two different
groups of rhyming sounds. The first eight lines are called the octave.
This has two four line units that rhyme in the same way. A b b a, a b
b a.

The remaining six lines are called the sestet and can have either two
or three rhyming sounds arranged in a variety of ways: cdcdcd, cddcdc,
cdecde, cdeced, or cdcedc.

The poem is clearly divided into two sections by the two differing
rhyme groups. The change from one rhyme group to another signifies a
change in subject matter. It can also be said that the octet prese...

... middle of paper ...

... years of
pain’ the word ‘long’ is again repeated to emphasize the time he has
been away and the suffering he has experienced as a Black in a ‘White’
world. The tightness, compression and discipline of the sonnet form
does not disguise but rather emphasises his love for Jamaica and his
suffering since he left.

In conclusion therefore, the sonnet has developed from its traditional
form albeit still retaining some of the aspects Petrarch may have once
used centuries beforehand such as an octave/sestet structure. It was
originally a formal love ‘song’ with high ideals and a rigid format.
Shakespeare transformed it and made the sonnet more accessible and fun
for the common man to enjoy. The sonnet has since evolved further and
can be used in a wide variety of forms and for an even wider range of
subject matter and can be easily read by audiences world-wide.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Power of the Sonnet Essay

- The Power of the Sonnet Sonnet 30 tells us that the speaker is a person who has long been stoic, whose tears have for a long time been unused to flow. In the situation sketched in the poem, he begins by deliberately and habitually making these tears flow again; he willingly--for the sake of an enlivened emotional selfhood--calls up the griefs of the past. In receding order, before the weeping "now", there was the "recent" dry-eyed stoicism; "before that," the frequent be-moanèd moan of repeated grief; "further back in the past," the original loss so often mourned; and "in the remote past", a time of achieved happiness, or at lea...   [tags: Sonnet essays]

Free Essays
842 words (2.4 pages)

Free Essays On Shakespeare's Sonnet Sonnet 107

- Analysis of Sonnet 107 Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul Of the wide world dreaming on things to come Can yet the lease of my true love control, Suppos'd as forfeit to a condin'd doom. The mortal moon hath her eclipse endur'd, And the sad augurs mock their own presage; Incertainties now crown themselves assur's, nd peace proclaims olives of endless age. Now with the drops of this most balmy time My love looks fresh; and Death to me subscribes, Since spite of him I'll lime in this poor rhyme While he insults o'er dull and speechless tribes: And thou in this shalt find thy monument When tyrants' crests and tombs of brass are spent....   [tags: Sonnet essays]

Free Essays
526 words (1.5 pages)

An Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 Essays

- An Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73      Sonnet 73 by William Shakespeare is widely read and studied. But what is Shakespeare  trying to say. Though it seems there will not be a simple answer, for a better understanding of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73, this essay offers an explication of the sonnet from The Norton Anthology of English Literature:                 That time of year thou mayst in me behold               When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang               Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,               Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang....   [tags: Sonnet essays]

Powerful Essays
1257 words (3.6 pages)

Essay about The Beauty of Sonnet 53

- The Beauty of Sonnet 53          Whether we realize it or not, we often give overlook the faults in the people who are dear to us. We focus on their good qualities and ignore the bad. This practice is not unique to our culture nor is it unique to our era. Shakespeare in his sonnet numbered 53, compares all beauty to his friend, and criticizes for trying to be as good as his friend. He does this by seemingly comparing his friend to things of beauty when in reality he is suggesting that his friend is the ideal and the beautiful things are merely copies or reflections of the friend....   [tags: Sonnet essays]

Powerful Essays
891 words (2.5 pages)

Free Essays on Sonnet CXXX

- Sonnet CXXX In our class we have been discussing sonnet cxxx. Many of my classmates believe that Shakespeare was saying that, although this girl is ugly, he still loves her. While others claim that he was not making any statements about her looks, but instead being realistic. It is my view that he was making a point of claiming that his girlfriend was a regular person and not a mythological goddess. Most people have heard on television or in movies, some guy tell his girlfriend that she has eyes as deep as the ocean or lips as soft as velvet....   [tags: Sonnet essays]

Free Essays
679 words (1.9 pages)

Essay Love in Shakespeare's Sonnet 138

- The Philosophy of Love in Sonnet 138                     Shakespeare was a superb philosopher, but in his sonnets, he was a philosopher of love.  Shakespeare sets forth the experiences of love and its torments fully within his sonnets.  The philosophy of love is that, love reconciles all.  Love is the evil and the good, the lies and the truth.  Love is all there is. It passion as well as deception and lies. "Sonnet 138", is a notable example of Shakespeare's philosophy of love.  Written as a dramatic monologue, this sonnet (also known as "song") is a lyric.  Like all sonnets, there are fourteen lines, with every four lines written as quatrains in a b a b format.  The last two lines are kn...   [tags: Sonnet essays]

Powerful Essays
712 words (2 pages)

Essay about An Analysis of Sonnet 64

- An Analysis of Sonnet 64 The formal structure of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 64 is largely reinforced by the logical and syntactical structure; each of the three quatrains begins with the same extended conditional "When I have seen" clause and contains the completion of the thought expressed by the clause. However, the first quatrain also contains a second conditional "When" clause (lines 3-4), and the last two lines of the third quatrain introduce the "That" result clause for all the foregoing lines....   [tags: Sonnet 64]

Powerful Essays
1350 words (3.9 pages)

Metaphorically Speaking – Sonnet 73 Essay example

- Metaphorically Speaking – Sonnet 73     Love is a blanket of bright and colorful flowers that covers a beautifully rolling meadow on a breezy summer day. Similar metaphorical images appear in many famous poems including Shakespeare's "Sonnet 73." The metaphor is the most basic device poets use to convey meanings beyond literal speech (Guth 473). Shakespeare's use of metaphors in this sonnet conveys his theme of the inescapable aging process. Shakespeare "establishes and extends a metaphor that illuminates the poem's central meaning" and compares the inevitability of old age to three different aspects of nature (Prather)....   [tags: Sonnet essays]

Powerful Essays
860 words (2.5 pages)

William Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 Essay examples

- Keeping love alive is not easy. One knows that life eventually comes to an end, but does love. Time passes and days must end. It is in "Sonnet 18", by Shakespeare, that we see a challenge to the idea that love is finite. Shakespeare shows us how some love is eternal and will live on forever in comparison to a beautiful summer's day. Shakespeare has a way of keeping love alive in "Sonnet 18", and he uses a variety of techniques to demonstrate how love is more brilliant and everlasting than a summer's day....   [tags: Shakespeare Sonnet]

Powerful Essays
935 words (2.7 pages)

Analysis of Sonnet 73 Essays

- [Line 1]* - 'that time of year' being late autumn or early winter. [Line 2]* - Compare the line to Macbeth (5.3.23) "my way of life/is fall'n into the sere, the yellow leaf". [Line 4]* - 'Bare ruin'd choirs' is a reference to the remains of a church or, more specifically, a chancel, stripped of its roof and exposed to the elements. The choirs formerly rang with the sounds of 'sweet birds'. Some argue that lines 3 and 4 should be read without pause -- the 'yellow leaves' shake against the 'cold/Bare ruin'd choirs' ....   [tags: Sonnet essays]

Powerful Essays
1683 words (4.8 pages)