What is the technique used in Sonnet 55?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Sonnet 55 is one of the best-known poems in Shakespeare's collection of 154, and is often used as an example of the love and admiration he felt for the unnamed recipient of the poems.

Sonnet 55 contains many of the literary and poetic devices Shakespeare used throughout his career. In particular, it is written in iambic pentameter, or five iambic beats per line. An iambic beat is composed of two syllables, with the emphasis on the second -- dah DAH. In this case, each line has five of these beats, to form a rhythmical structure, and the form of the poem itself -- three quatrains (four line rhymes) and a couplet (two lines) for the end -- has become known as a Shakespearean Sonnet. The continuous beat of the poem causes each line to feed into the next, so there is no harsh stopping point in the middle. Sonnet 55 also uses the technique of first-person narration -- it is told to the listener by a person instead of an omnipotent narrator, which allows a personal, intimate nature to the poem.

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