What form does a Shakespearian sonnet follow?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

 Following the traditional English form of the sonnet, Shakespeare's sonnets have fourteen lines and use iambic pentameter.  The Shakespearean sonnet is divided into four main sections.  The first three sections are known as quatrains because they have four lines each; each of these three quatrains usually introduced some different aspect of the subject of the poem.  The final section of the poem is a couplet, two rhymed lines. Typically, this couplet concluded the subject of the sonnet or resolved the speaker's conflict.

The rhyme scheme of the Shakespearean sonnet also follows the same set pattern of the English sonnet: ABAB, CDCD EFEF GG. 

Read the study guide:
Shakespeare's Sonnets

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