Sonnet 始祖-Petrarch 

 

Definition: The term “sonnet” derives from the Occitan word “ sonnet” and Italian word “sonnetto,” both literally meaninglittle song.” Sonnet is one of the poetic forms which consists of 14 lines. Sonnets is required to write in iambic pentameter[1] and every other syllable is naturally accented.

 

First Stanza

Octave (8 lines) =>ask a Question

2 variable form  :

ABBAABBA

ABBACDCD

 

Second Stanza

Sestet(6 lines) =>offer the answer

2 variable form:

CDCDCD

CDECDE

 

 

Petrarch establishes the most widely used sonnet form. Petrarch sonnet divides into 8-line octave that states a proposition or problem, followed by a 6-line sestet that resolves to solve the problem, with a clear break between the two sections. Characteristically, the 9th marks a turn, as a transition or move from proposition to the resolution by signaling a change in tone, mood or stance of the poem.

 

 

Shakespeare Sonnet

 

ABAB CDCB EFEF GG(rhyming couplet)

 

Form: Shakespeare invented the pattern with 3 quatrains[2], each presents an idea or a theme and ends with a rhymed couplet that either offers a summary or an unexpected sharp thematic turn.

 

Theme: He probes themes into a wider range, including religion, politics, affection, eternality and other issues.

 

Examples

 

l   He addresses the issue of eternity of poetry in sonnet 18.

l   Quotations: “every fair from fair declines, by chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed/when in eternal lines to time you growst/ and this gives life to you”

l   He renders the subject of friendship in sonnet 173.

l   Quotations: “This you perceivst, which will make your love more strong to love that well which you must leave ere long.”

 

Mood: His moods are not confined to a despairing Petrarchan lover. Rather, Shakespeare’s sonnet contains diverse emotions, ranging from delight, melancholy, pride, and shame, disgust to fear.

Attention: He portrays a dark, sensuous, and seriously promiscuous mistress. In a sense, the dark lady is described as alluring but degrading subject of desire, such as sonnet 147, while the love poem to a woman are explicitly rife of negative and bitter criticism. As in sonnet 130, the vision of the dark lady appears to be plain, homely and even ugly. For instance, “ my mistress’ eye are nothing like the sun/if snow be white, why her breasts are dun/if hair be wires, black wires grow on her head, accordingly”

 

 

 

Self-referential: Shakespeare sonnet involves modern-style, self-referential[3] atmosphere that each poem deals with highly personal theme and

 

his sequence suggest a story with vague details. In a sense, each can be taken on it or in relations to other poems.

 

 

Spenserian sonnet (繼古承新)

 

Rhyme scheme: abab baba cdcd ee

He models on Petrarch in a more general level by introducing the striking features of Italian love poetry to England.

chief characteristics:

1.      overwhelming joy as well as tormenting desire

2.      conflict between love and reason, love and desire

3.      discussion of poetic creativity.

 

Form: It is a fusion of Petrarch and Shakespeare based on 3 quatrains and a couplet system set by Shakespeare. Nevertheless, it is more like the Petrarchan tradition due to the fact that the conclusion follows from the argument or issue set up in the earlier quatrains.

 

poet ability and creativity:

 

He describes the lady in an objectified approach through bodily parts with intention to transform the traditional, “transcendental ideal” into unremarkable, common woman. He adopts a great use of parody of idealization that the mistress’s status is somewhat degraded by being compared to other common materials. 

▲Example

 

In Faerie Queen, Duessa is not idealized but instead all of her flaws are heightened.

 

 

題外話結語:可以發現sonnet的演進與變革,從浪漫主義逐漸邁入寫實主義的氛圍,可以發現後人繼承傳統的同時也同時展現革新的野心。

 



[1] pentameter n.【音韻學】五音步詩行。

[2] quatrain n. 【音韻學】四行詩,四行一節的詩。

[3] self-referentiaadj.1.【邏輯學】(命題或陳述)自參照的;真假自明的。2. 與自己有關的。

 

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