The SonnetHonors English 9Forsyth & BernsteinBear Creek High School
What do you remember about sonnets?14 line poemiambic pentameterspecific rhyme scheme (ababcdcdefefgg)
archaic languageusually about love
I bet you didnt know that The word sonnet means little sound or little song.The sonnet originated in Italy and had 14 lines, but had a different rhyme scheme than what we study.All of Shakespeares sonnets were connected by theme.Of the 154 sonnets, #s 1-126 are addressed to a young man expressing the poets love for him, and #s 127152 are written to the poets mistress expressing strong love for her. The English version (Shakespearean sonnet) consists of four parts: three quatrains and a couplet.Look at the Prologue for Act I in Romeo and Juliet for example
Two households both alike in dignity, AIn fair Verona, where we lay our scene. BFrom ancient grudge break to new mutiny, AWhere civil blood makes civil hands unclean. BFrom forth the fatal loins of these two foes CA pair of star-crossed lovers take their life, DWhose misadventure piteous overthrows CDoth with their death bury their parents strife. DThe fearful passage of their death-marked love, EAnd the continuance of their parents rage, FWhich, but their childrens end, naught could remove, EIs now the two hours traffic of our stage, FThe which if you with patient ears attend, GWhat here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. G1st Quatrain2nd Quatrain3rd QuatrainCouplet
The Sonnet FormThe form into which a poet puts his or her words is always something of which the reader ought to take conscious note. And when poets have chosen to work within such a strict form, that form and its strictures make up part of what they want to say. In other words, the poet is using the structure of the poem as part of the language act: we will find the "meaning" not only in the words, but partly in their pattern as well.
Consider the following when interpreting a sonnet The sonnet can be thematically divided into two sections: The first presents the theme, raises an issue or doubt, The second part answers the question, resolves the problem, or drives home the poem's point. This change in the poem is called the turn and helps move forward the emotional action of the poem quickly.
The SonnetThe Shakespearean sonnet has a wide range of possibilities. One pattern introduces an idea in the first quatrain, complicates it in the second, complicates it still further in the third, and resolves the whole thing in the final couplet.Each sonnet functions as its own short story in a way.
Iambic PentameterIambic Pentameter is the rhythm and meter in which poets and playwrights wrote in Elizabethan England. It is a meter that Shakespeare uses.Quite simply, it sounds like this: dee DUM, dee DUM, dee DUM, dee DUM, dee DUM. It consists of a line of five iambic feet, ten syllables with five unstressed and five stressed syllables. It is the first and last sound we ever hear, it is the rhythm of the human heartbeat.
It is percussive and attractive to the ear and has an effect on the listener's central nervous system. U / U / U / U / U /But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
There are other types of meterTrochee (Dum Da) ( / U) Should you ask me, whence these stories? Anapestic (da da dum) ( U U / )I am out of humanity's reachI must finish my journey alone Dactylic (Dum da da) ( / U U )Picture yourself in a boat on a river with tangerine tree-ees and marmalade skii-ii-es.
Your turn to practice In a small group of 3-4, read and discuss Sonnet 18.Read it a few times to get a sense of what the poem is about.Identify the rhyme scheme and label it on the right side of the poem.Count the meter and label it on the left side of the poem.Read each syllable closely and determine where there is iambic pentameter. Label the stressed and unstressed syllables.On the reverse side of the paper, write an explication of the sonnet.
Sonnet 18Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd; But thy eternal summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
Your explication should includeA theme statement. Beauty is not a theme. What is the author saying about beauty?Discuss the three quatrain and the couplet. How does the poet introduce the problem and how is it solved?What figurative language is used to convey the meaning in the poem?
TranslationShall I compare you to a summer's day? You are more lovely and more moderate: Harsh winds disturb the delicate buds of May, and summer doesn't last long enough. Sometimes the sun is too hot, and its golden face is often dimmed by clouds. All beautiful things eventually become less beautiful, either by the experiences of life or by the passing of time. But your eternal beauty won't fade, nor lose any of its quality. And you will never die, as you will live on in my enduring poetry. As long as there are people still alive to read poems this sonnet will live, and you will live in it.
The SonnetYou can see how this form would attract writers of great technical skill who are fascinated with intellectual puzzles and intrigued by the complexity of human emotions, which become especially tangled when it comes to dealing with the sonnet's traditional subjects, love and faith.
Other MetersTrochee (Dum Da) ( / U)Anapestic (da da dum) ( U U / )Dactylic (Dum da da) ( / U U )
Sonnet 116Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove: O no! it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose Worth's unknown, although his height be taken. Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle's compass come; Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom: If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved.