Sonnet and Types of Sonnet 2

Sonnet and Types of Sonnet

What is Sonnet?

‘Sonnet’ is an abbreviation of the Italian sonetto (little song) recited to the sound of a musical instrument. It is a fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter. Its origins are unclear. For some, it originated in Provence and for others, it is a development of the Greek epigram. It is a dialectical construct where two contrasting ideas, emotions, states of mind, beliefs, actions, events and images are juxtaposed.

The major types of sonnets are as follows:

• Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnet

• English (or Shakespearian) sonnet

• Spenserian sonnet.

1. Petrarchan sonnet: The Petrarchan sonnet is divided into two sections.

The first eight lines are the octave (consisting of two quatrains). The octave presents a problem or question, or situation and rhymes abba abba. The final six lines are the sestet (consisting of two tercets). The sestet presents the resolution to the octave. It has a looser rhyme scheme and can rhyme as: cdc dcd; cdd cdc; cde cde; cde ced; or cdc edc.

Typically, the ninth line of the sonnet marks the movement from the problem to the resolution. Since this marks a change in tone of the poem this line is called the ‘turn’ or volta.

2. English or Shakespearian sonnet: The Shakespearian sonnet is so-called since he was the most famous practitioner of this form. The theme, generally, is the poet’s love of a woman. This sonnet comprises of three quatrains of alternating rhyme and a couplet: abab; cdcd; efef; gg. Here, the sestet is divided into a four-line stanza and a couplet which sums up the poet’s conclusion.

3. Spenserian sonnet: The Spenserian sonnet, invented by Edmund Spenser can be seen as a variation of the Shakespearean sonnet. It too has a three quatrain and a couplet structure; but with an interwoven rhyme scheme: abab; bcbc; cdcd; ee.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe. Yes, it is free!

Shout questions, submit your articles, get study notes and smart learning tips and much more...!

%d bloggers like this: