Shakespearean and Petrarchan Sonnets

Essay by saraspanksterCollege, Undergraduate September 2004

download word file, 3 pages 4.0

Downloaded 20 times

Elizabeth Stevens

English Renaissance

Professor McKeown

11 May 2004

Shakespearean and Petrarchan Sonnets

A sonnet is a poem consisting of fourteen lines, usually in iambic pentameter, restricted to a definite rhyme scheme. Iambic pentameter consists of ten

syllables per line of poetry with stress on every other syllable. The two main sonnet types are the Italian, or Petrarchan and the Elizabethan, or Shakespearean.

There are several facts that separate a Shakespearean sonnet from a Petrarchan sonnet. A Petrarchan sonnet consists of an eight line stanza, which is called

an octave, and a six line stanza, which is called a sestet. The first stanza usually presents a theme and the second stanza develops that theme. The rhyme scheme in

the first stanza is ABBA, ABBA. The rhyme scheme in the second stanza is CDE, CDE. An example in which this definition can be seen is in Petrarchs sonnet

number 269:

Broken the column and the green bay tree

That lent a shade to my exhausted thought;

And I have lost what can nowhere be sought

In any distant wind or distant sea.

You took away from me my double treasure,

Death, which had made my life proud and secure;

What neither earth nor kingdom can allure,

Nor oriental gem, nor golden measure.

But if to accept this is destiny,

What can I do but wear eyes wet with

A sad soul and a face shut to all views?

O life that are so beautiful to see,

How quickly in one morning do we lose

What we gained with great pain in many years!

The first stanza presents the theme of the sonnet. The speaker has had a double treasure taken away from him by the one he loves. The next stazna

develops the theme. The speaker claims that there is nothing...