Shakespeare's Sonnets by William Shakespeare

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What are the similarities and differences in form and content between the Shakespearean Sonnet and the Petrarchan Sonnet?

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Both the Petrarchan and Shakespearean sonnets consist of fourteen lines and are written in iambic pentameter.  This means that each line, generally speaking, will have five (penta-) feet, with each foot consisting of one unaccented syllable followed by one accented syllable: this means that each line will typically have ten syllables.  The foot name is an iamb (this is where we get the word iambic), and each iamb has two syllables: one unaccented followed by one accented syllable.  

The Petrarchan sonnet is divided into an eight line octave (rhyme scheme: abbaabba) followed by a six line sestet (with a rhyme scheme that is more open: cdcdcd, cdecde, cdeedc—really, any combination of "c"s and "d"s and maybe "e"s is acceptable).  Then, there is usually some division of content between the octave and sestet.  The octave might pose a question that the sestet answers.  The octave might present a problem that the sestet solves.  The octave could present an issue from one angle, and then the...

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