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What were the literary characteristics of the time period of this sonnet and does this...

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jase-edwin | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 11, 2007 at 8:19 AM via web

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What were the literary characteristics of the time period of this sonnet and does this sonnet fit in with the literary style of that time?

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 11, 2007 at 8:58 AM (Answer #1)

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All of Shakespeare's sonnets were published in 1609, and  they were probably circulated in manuscript form since about 1598.  The composition of sonnet cycles--and Sonnet 29 is part of Shakespeare's sonnet cycle--was in vogue at the time, an imitation of Petrarch's famous cycles to Laura. Many English poets at this time were writing sonnets.  Shakespeare developed a form slightly different from that of Petrarch, and this came to be known as the Shakespearean sonnet. It consists of 3 quatrains with a rhyme scheme of abab, cdcd, efef, and then a concluding couplet gg. The couplet sums up in an intense  way the general ideas of the quatrains. The rhythm is iambic pentameter. Sonnets generally deal with topics related to love, and so does this of Shakespeare, although here the love object is a man rather than a woman. He says that he would think his life of little value except for the fact his friend makes him feel wealthy and loved. Sonnets are typically rich in metaphor, and so is Sonnet 29, such as personifying heaven (2) and cries (2), and the simile of the lark (10) is also typical of the day.

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