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In Sonnet 131 (I'd sing of Love in such a novel fashion) by Petrarch, what is the...

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manderz | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted January 20, 2011 at 7:56 AM via web

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In Sonnet 131 (I'd sing of Love in such a novel fashion) by Petrarch, what is the intent of the author/speaker?

What message is supposed to be conveyed? Is the message stated directly or indirectly? Please, include quotes.

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mitchrich4199 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted January 20, 2011 at 5:36 PM (Answer #1)

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In the first two stanzas, the speaker relates to a "love" that he is unable to woo at first. He must work hard at it, drawing “by force/a thousand sighs a day, kindling again/in her cold mind a thousand high desires.”  The second stanza suggests that this person has done him wrong. He’s comparing his love to someone “who feels regret...for causing someone’s suffering by mistake.” While this is a comparison, it still suggests that she’s not treated him fairly, but that he’s willing to look past that.

The scarlet roses in the snow and the ivory that “turns to marble those who see in near them” can be looked at symbolically. There’s a sense of purity, but also of blemish. Again, he’s willing to let the “blemish” of the roses roll past him because of his love for her. Finally, in the last stanza, he knows that this will cause great suffering, but he doesn’t “mind/[his] discontentment in this one short life,/but [looks for] glory rather in [his] later fame. The later fame is the afterlife.


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