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Understanding the concept of Sonnets

by ben ramirez

There are various styles of writing when we talk about verse. These styles add a different taste to each and every work that is written seems to appeal in a different manner to our senses. concept of Sonnets

Sonnet is one such developed style of writing verses. Sonnets refer to poems of fourteen lines that are written in a single stanza as well as in iambic pentameter, linked by an intricate rhyme scheme. 

Although sonnets are not that a difficult part of studying literature and literary works yet

there may be some subtopics under the heading that may require assignment help for students.

Before we proceed to further understanding of the sonnets,

we need to understand the two major rhyme patterns in sonnets, that are written in English Language:

Shakespearean Sonnet- 

This was otherwise known as the English sonnet and was developed by the Earl of Surrey and other experimenters in the sixteenth century. The sonnet was named after Shakespeare because he was the greatest practitioner of this type. 

The fourteen lines written in this sonnet are divide into three quatrains (stanza of four lines) and a couplet (stanza of two lines). In the same era, we also saw the development of another type of sonnet known as the Spenserian sonnet, 

after Sir Edmund Spenser. In these sonnets, Spenser linked each stanza with the other by a continuing rhyme abab bcbc cdcd ee.

Italian or Petrarchan Sonnet- 

The name of this type of sonnet has derive from the name of the fourteenth century Italian poet Petrarch. Different from the first one,

this sonnet has the division of fourteen lines into octave (stanza of eight lines) and sestet (stanza of six lines). 

The rhyme scheme of the former is abbaabba and that of the latter is cdecde or any other variant like cdccdc. The standard subject of Petrarch’s sonnets were the hopes and pains of a male lover and thus his subject as well as his stanza form had been first imitated in England by Sir Thomas Wyatt, in the early 16th century. 

This form was later use various poets and for a variety of subjects. Poets like John Milton, William Wordsworth, Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, as well as other sonneteers. Research paper writing suggest that these poets made the form 

sometimes easier in English in the manner that this English form did not have as many rhyming possibilities as in the Italian form. This they did by introducing a new pair of rhymes in the second four lines of the octave. 

  A great many alterations were make in the subject of these sonnets as- in the 16th century, John Donne changed the standard subject from sexual love to variety of religious themes as he does in his Holy Sonnets. 

In a similar manner, John Milton altered the subject by expanding the range of the sonnets to a variety of greater subjects that were in serious in nature. The sonnets remained an important and a prominent part in the literary world, 

except for the time in the Neoclassical age. This popular form had its various practitioners till date like:

  1. William Wordsworth
  2. John Keats
  3. Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  4. Christian Rossetti
  5. Dante Gabriel Rossetti

In the 20th century, the list went on to include the names like:

  1. Edwin Arlington Robinson
  2. Edna St. Vincent Millay
  3. William Butler Yeats
  4. Robert Frost
  5. W. H. Auden
  6. Dylan Thomas

The stanzas in these sonnets are long enough to facilitate the development of a complex lyric yet so short and exigent in its rhyme as to challenge the artistry and ingenuity of the poet. 

In case of Petrarchan sonnet, the rhyme pattern poses a problem in the form of a situation or incident

in the octave and a solution is provided in the sestet. Sometimes the English form too witnesses a similar division of material 

but often after presenting a repetition with variation in a statement in each of the three quatrains and as we move towards the final couplet,

it imposes an epigrammatic turn at the end of an English sonnet. 

A prominent example of this can be Drayton’s fine Elizabethan sonnet in the English form Since there’s no help,

come let us kiss and part,

in which the lover declares something in the first quatrain, reiterates it in the second – 

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that he is happy that the affair has ended on a clean note,

then he hesitates in finally parting in the third quatrain and in the concluding couplet, he suddenly drops his swagger to make an ultimate plea.

On the lines of the early example given by Petrarch,

some research paper writing suggest that a number of Elizabethan authors arranged their poems into sonnet cycle or sonnet sequences, 

wherein a series of sonnets are interlink the exploration of the varied aspects of a relationship between lovers,

or else by an indication of a development in the relationship that constitutes and implicit plot. 

Shakespeare gave a particular order or rather a sequence to his sonnets, as Sir Phillip Sydney did in Astrophel and Stella and as Edmund Spencer did in Amoretti. The later example of the sonnets sequence on different subjects are:

  • The River Duddon by William Wordsworth
  • House of Life by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  • Two Lives by the American poet William Ellery Leonard
  • Altarwise by Owl-Light by Dylan Thomas (this poem is a sequence of ten
  • sonnets that highlight the poet’s abstruse meditations his own life).
  • Modern Love by George Meredith (this poem is sometimes call a sonnet sequence even though the
  • component poems do not contain fourteen rather sixteen lines and concerns a bitterly unhappy marriage).

Therefore, the sonnets became an important part in the verse form of writing and saw their development from Petrarch to today.

various forms of sonnets that develop later on were base on the two aforemention sonnets and were also experiment with. 

Therefore, the points that may offer assignment help to the students have been clearly mention above. 

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