Why do sonnets make a great form for love poetry?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

An interesting question.
In part the answer is, simple tradition. Once it has been established that the sonnet is the form for a love poem, great poet/lovers later worked in that tradition because it was expected of them.

However, there are three formal reasons why it is a great form for love poetry. The first is also simple: it is short enough to read quickly, but long enough to really develop an idea.

The second is more complicated: like love, there is variation within established form. By that I mean, just as your first date and my first date might be different, but they both share certain qualities, so the known structure of the sonnet creates a pleasant expectation: how will this known stage be navigated?

Third, the larger structure of the sonnet, whether 3 quatrains and a couplet or 8 and 6, creates a good progression. One can either work through three elements of a theme and then wrap it up, or use a call and response structure (problem and solution, question and answer), and love involves questions that get answered the way you hope for them to be.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial