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What is a sonnet?

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tokaibhoot | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 14, 2012 at 5:06 AM via web

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What is a sonnet?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 14, 2012 at 5:17 AM (Answer #1)

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A sonnet is a form of poetry. It originated during the medieval period in continental Europe, most likely southern France. A typical sonnet is comprised of fourteen lines, and the Shakespearean sonnet, by far the most famous and most widely read by students, consists of ten syllables per line. Shakespearean sonnets are written in iambic pentameter, but this does not necessarily apply to all sonnets. Rhyming schemes vary according to different types of sonnet. Other famous sonnet writers are Petrarch (who also has a style of sonnet named for him) and Dante Alighieri. 


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writergal06 | Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted March 15, 2013 at 6:14 PM (Answer #3)

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A sonnet is a 14 line poem written in iambic pentameter with a set rhyme scheme. The term "iambic pentameter" refers to the number of stressed syllables in the line, and the pattern they create. For a sonnet, the syllables should alternate in an "unstressed, stressed" pattern (iambs) and there should be 5 stressed syllables per line (pentameter). 

Sonnets can be organized by using either an octave and sestet OR quatrains and couplet. Sonnets using an octave and sestet are divided into an 8 line section and a 6 line section. Oftentimes, these sections represent an question and a reply, or a problem and a solution. Sonnets that are divided with quatrains and a couplet have 3 sections of 4 lines, typically with an alternating rhyming pattern, and end with two lines that rhyme. 

Traditionally, sonnets dealt with themes of love, death, religion, or nature. They also traditionally followed a very rigid pattern. Modern poets are more likely to take artistic liberties with the form than their predecessors. 

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arjun | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted May 13, 2013 at 2:55 AM (Answer #4)

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Sonnet is a poem of fourteen lines with Iambic penta meter.Iambic or iambee is one of the basic meters,It consists if unstress and stress. So,in a line five unstress and five stress syllables come. One  basic meter consists of two syllables means ten syllables as calculated five(penta) meters. It is divided into two poetions.Octave and sestet. Octave means eight further divided into quatain(abab,abab)and sestet means six further divided into three(cde,cde).


Rhyming scheme:


aa bb,aabb,ccddee. abab cdfcdf,ababcdcd efefgg.

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