Sonnet Meaning Notes for BA English Honours

Write a short note on Sonnet.

Sonnet Meaning: It is a type of lyrical poetry. It is written in fourteen lines. Each line has ten syllables and is written in iambic pentameter. Giacomo da Lentini of Italy created the first sonnet in the year 1230. We called his version of sonnets, “Italian sonnets.” The word sonnet means “little song.” The sonnet has been divided into three major categories- the Petrarchan sonnet, Shakespearean sonnets, and Spenserian sonnets.

The Petrarchan sonnet: Refers to a concept of unattainable love. Conventionally Petrarchan sonnets depicted the lady as a model and inspiration. This phrase is often used in reference to romantic literature, including analysis of Shakespeare.
It is a sonnet in its classic form is divided into two sections, knows as Octave (Eight line stanza) and Sestet(Six line stanza). The has two quatrains, rhyming abba, abba; the first quatrains present the theme and the second develops it. The sestet is built on two or three different rhymes, arranged either c-d-e-c-d-e or c-d-c-d-c-d or c-d-e-d-c-e, the first three lines reflect on the theme and the last three lines bring the whole poem to a close. 

The Shakespearean sonnet or English sonnet meaning. It has the simplest and most flexible pattern of all sonnets. The sonnets that we will study are arranged as three quatrains followed by a couplet. The traditional rhyme scheme used for an English sonnet is ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. Each line must be written in iambic pentameter-that is a line of ten syllables that follows the unstressed/stressed rhythm pattern. Beyond the stanzaic structure, a sonnet must present a conflict and resolve it in the couplet. Each quatrain can present a different point of view about the problem. The couplet at the end is for the poet’s final thoughts on the subject. The conclusion can be clever or poignant. It may be a surprise twist. 

The Spenserian sonnet, invented by Edmund Spenser as an outgrowth of the stanza pattern he used in The Faerie Queene has the pattern- ABAB BCBC CDCD EE. You can also see the example of Amoretti, sonnet no. 75. Although Spenser is best-known for The Faerie Queene, he also wrote numerous sonnets, pioneering a replacement form that’s now synonymous together with his name. The sonnets are fourteen lines long, as are all traditional sonnets and are contained within one block of text. The poems contain three quatrains, as do Shakespearean sonnets, and one final couplet. They follow a rhyme scheme of ABAB BCBC CDCD EE. This pattern is comparable to a Shakespearean sonnet and a Petrarchan sonnet although there is a distinct difference in the repetition of the “C” rhyme. The couplets that structure this complete form are its most prominent feature.

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