During The Florentine Renaissance Sonnet Poetic Forms English Language Essay


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The first and most common type of sonnet is the Italian sonnet. It is also known as the Petrarchan sonnet. The sonnet named after the Italian poet Petrarch, who is one of its greatest practitioners. Also, the Italian sonnet was created by Giacomo da Lentini, who is head of the Sicilian School under Frederick II. The Italian sonnet contains fourteen lines of iambic pentameter rhyming abababab cdcdcd. Moreover, the Petrarchan sonnet is divided into two stanzas. The first one is the octave, which contains the first eight lines. Followed by is a sestet which contains six lines stanza. In the eight- line stanza, the first line rhymes with the fourth, fifth, and eight lines while the second rhymes with the third, sixth and seventh. Also, the octave is made up of two quatrains and the following rhyme scheme is abbaabba. There are four different rhyme schemes in the sestet such as cdecde, cdcdcd, ccedde or cdecde. Evermore, the octave and sestet have their own special functions in an Italian sonnet. For instance, the purpose of octave is to introduce a problem or express a desire while the purpose of sestet is to apply a solution or make a comment on the problem.

The best example of an Italian sonnet is "Ozymandias of Egypt", written by P.B. Shelley. Shelly was a famous British poet and a part of Romantic Movement which focused on human emotions and feelings. The poem is mainly about a ruined statue of Ramesses the Great, who is an Egyptian pharaoh. The sonnet "Ozymandias of Egypt" is written in iambic Pentameter. Also, it is an Italian sonnet because of its traditional use of an octave and a sestet. The first four lines rhyme ABAB, but then at lines five to eight, the rhyme scheme is ACDC. For lines nine to twelve, the rhyme scheme is EDEF. Finally, a concluding couplet rhyme EF. In all, the entire rhyme scheme of this poem is as follows: ABABACDCEDEFEF. Furthermore, as I mention above that in Petrarchan sonnet, the octave is used to talk about the problem and a sestet is used to comment on the problem. For instance, in the poem, the first four lines introduce the problem of Ozymandias and the end of the poem comment about the fact that Ozymandias's empire is ruined and decayed.

The second type of sonnet is the English sonnet which also called Elizabethan sonnet or Shakespearean sonnet. The sonnet named after Shakespeare because it is most famous practiced by William Shakespeare. The first person developed the English sonnet is Henry Howard. The Shakespearean sonnet is a short poem that consists of three quatrains of four lines and concludes a final couplet of two lines. The rhyme scheme of Shakespearean sonnet is abab cdcd efef gg, which in each stanza, the rhyming lines are the first and third and the second and fourth. Also, both lines rhyme in the couple ending the poem. Furthermore, the main structure of the English sonnet is fourteen lines. Each line contains ten syllables and is written in iambic pentameter. There are 154 sonnets in Shakespearean sonnet. Each sonnet has its own theme such as love, beauty and mortality. For example, the first seventeen sonnets of Shakespeare are about a young man urging to marry and have children in order to pass on his superior qualities to his next generation. Other sonnets express the speaker's love for a young man.

William Shakespeare's sonnet 18, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" is a typical English sonnet. According to the poem below, a sonnet consists of three quatrains and a couplet that wraps the poem up. Furthermore, the rhyme scheme of the poem is as follows. The first stanza is ABAB, the second is CDCD, the third is EFEF and the couplet is GG. In the English sonnet, Shakespeare also uses sonnet as an argument. Also, in the first quatrain, Shakespeare establishes the theme by comparing his beloved to summer itself. He extends the theme in the second stanza by explaining why the sun which supposed to be great, gets obscured, and why every beautiful thing decays sooner or later. Moreover, he has shifted the metaphor and compared the sun and every beautiful thing to his beloved. The third quatrain, the poet introduces the conflict that why he won't compare the summer to his beloved. Lastly, in the final couplet, Shakespeare explains how the beloved's beauty will not perish but accomplish.

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? a

Thou art more lovely and more temperate: b

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, a

And summer's lease hath all too short a date: b

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, c

And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; d

And every fair from fair sometime declines, c

By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd; d

But thy eternal summer shall not fade e

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; f

Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, e

When in eternal lines to time thou growest: f

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, g

So long lives this and this gives life to thee. G

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