Can someone please tell me 4 simple characteristics of Elizabethan poetry that are found in Sonnet XVIII ? Thank you

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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  • Sonnet form

Shakespeare's Sonnet XVIII, interestingly, is not a Shakespearean sonnet, but a Petrarchan sonnet. This is an Italian sonnet introduced into English poetry Sir Thomas Wyatt. Named after the 13th century Italian poet Petrarch, this sonnet is divided into an octave, which states a problem, or raises a question, and the sestet which solves the problem, or answers the question. The rhyme scheme of this type of sonnet is abba abba in the octave, while the sestet is ced ced or some combination of cd rhymes. 

In Sonnet XVIII presents the problem of how the lover should compare his love. Then in line 8, the volta, or turn in though is proposed: The object of the speaker's love's beauty will not fade: "But thy eternal summer shall not fade." Then, the sestet solves the problem of how this beauty shall be preserved by explaining that the lover's beauty will be preserved in verse.

  • Iambic pentatmeter

Elizabethan poetry certainly popularized the iamb, which is typical of English speech. With iambic pentameter verse there is a fluency.

  • Rhyme and rhythm

Fluency, melody and lyricism became popular in Elizabethan poetry. With the sonnet form of this Sonnet SVIII, there is a lyric delight in the sounds of words and lines.

  • Love poetry and aestheticism

Love poems of various moods were very popular in Elizabethan poetry. Sonnet XVIII is a very reflective love poem that finds its solution in the aesthetic: the beauty of the lover is preserved much as that of the lovers on the Grecian Urn: in an artistic form; that is, in lyric verse.

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