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What is the rhyme scheme of John Keats' "On the Sonnet"  and how well does this...

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sbridges | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted March 12, 2012 at 11:45 AM via web

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What is the rhyme scheme of John Keats' "On the Sonnet"  and how well does this unusual structure meet the challenge implied by the poem?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 12, 2012 at 1:17 PM (Answer #1)

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The poem “On the Sonnet” by John Keats is an example of what is known by literary critics as “imitative form” in which the form of the poem in some way imitates its subject matter.  The poem, written in moderately regular iambic pentameter, is a protests against the “dull rhymes|” and predictability of the sonnet form and calls for a new type of sonnet in which the rhymes, rather than forming predictable patterns, are more “interwoven.” Thus rather than starting off with two open quatrains (like the English sonnet) or two envelope quatrains (like the Italian sonnet), Keats uses a sestet based on three rhyme sounds, followed by another irregularly rhymed quatrain, and resolving, in the final four lines into an open or alternating quatrain.


It does what the poem promises, but it’s more of a one-off technical trick than something which had a major effect on the development of the English sonnet. The rhyme scheme is:


A
B
C
A
B
D
C
A
B
C
D
E
D
E

Sources:

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