skip to main | skip to sidebar
Home » , » Definition of Sonnet and Examples

What is a sonnet?

A sonnet is a kind of poem with a definite structure or form. Ordinary sonnets are of fourteen lines comprising an octave (first eight lines) and a sestet (last six lines). Octave usually forms the ‘proposition,’ which describes a ‘problem’. It is followed by a sestet (two tercets), which proposes a resolution. Italian poet Petrach is considered the father of the sonnet because it was Petrarch who first innovated such a form of writing a poem. The English poets followed Petrarch to write sonnets, though poets like Shakespeare and Spenser brought some variations in their sonnet forms. There are usually three patterns of sonnets as far as the rhymes and stanzaic forms are concerned. the Petrachan, the Spenserian, and the Shakespearean. The Petrarchan comprises an octave rhyming abba abba and a sestet rhyming cde cde or cd cd cd, or in any combination - except a rhyming couplet. The Spenserian comprises three quatrains and a couplet, rhyming abab, bcbc, cdcd, ee. The Shakespearean consists of three quatrains and a couplet—abab, cdcd, efef, gg. Apart from stanzaic forms and rhyme patterns English sonnets usually follow a rhyme pattern known as iambic pentameter. 
Definition of sonnet

A lyric poem of fourteen iambic pentameter lines. It is of three types—Petrarchan (also known as Italian), Shakespearean (also known as English), and Spenserian. The first eight lines of a Petrarchan sonnet are called octave and the last six lines of it are called sestet. The rhyme scheme of the octave of a Petrarchan sonnet is abba abba and that of sestet is cd cd cd or cde cde. Milton, Wordsworth, Wyatt, Rossetti, and a few other English poets have used Petrarchan form in their sonnets. Here is an example:
The world is too much with us; late and soon, 
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours; 
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours, A
nd are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers, 
For this, for everything, we are out of tune; 
1. abb aabba- Octave
It moves us not.—Great God! I’d rather be 
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn, 
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, 
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn, 
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea, 
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn. 
2. cdcd cd - Sestet

( Wordsworth: "The World Is Too Much With Us" )


Post a Comment

Back To Top