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A Shakespearean sonnet, or Elizabethan sonnet or English sonnet, is a verse form used to write lyric poetry. The form is named after William Shakespeare, not because he was the first to write in this form but because he became its most famous practitioner.
The first sonnets written in English followed the form of the Italian or Petrarchan sonnet. But it soon became evident that this form, which required only two rhymes in the octet and five in total, did not work as well in English as in Italian (where rhymes are numerous).
One of the first practitioners, if not the originator, of the English sonnet was Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. An early example (based thematically on one of Petrarch's sonnets) is the The soote season, that Bud and Bloom forth brings, first published in 1557.
Shakespeare circulated his sonnets privately among his friends; 154 of them were published in Shakespeare's sonnets in 1609.. The Prologue to Romeo and Juliet is also a sonnet, as is Romeo and Juliet's first exchange in Act One, Scene Five, lines 104-117, beginning with "If I profane with my unworthiest hand" (104) and ending with "Then move not while my prayer's effect I take." (117).
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
- Main article: Sonnet
The sonnet consists of 14 lines of regular meter. In English language verse, with only rare exceptions, the meter is iambic pentameter (in which a pattern of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable is repeated five times), although there is some accepted metrical flexibility (e.g., hendecasyllabic lines with an extra-syllable feminine rhyme, or a choriamb rather than two iambs following a line break or caesura).
The Shakespearean sonnet is distinguished by its rhyme scheme, which is a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g. Tht is equivalent to the rhyme scheme of three quatrains followed by a rhyming or heroic couplet, and the respective lines of a Shakespearean sonnet can be (and often are) referred to as the first, second, and third quatrains and the couplet.
The third quatrain (LL9-12) generally introduces an unexpected sharp thematic or imagistic "turn"; the volta . In Shakespeare's sonnets, however, he often builds in another turn in the couplet, where he usually summarizes the theme of the poem or introduces a fresh new look at the theme.
This example, Shakespeare's Sonnet 116, illustrates the form (with some typical variances one may expect when reading an Elizabethan-age sonnet with modern eyes).
- ↑ Henry Howard, Early of Surrey, "The soote season, that Bud and Bloom forth brings", Representative Poetry Online, University of Toronto, UToronto.ca, Web, Nov. 21, 2011.
- ↑ Folger's Edition of "Romeo and Juliet"
- ↑ "Quatorzain," Encyclopaedia Britannica (1911), 1911Encyclopedia.org, Web, Oct. 28, 2011.
- ↑ Shakespeare, William. "Sonnet CXVI". Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library. http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=MobSons.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=116&division=div1.
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