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Shakespeare's Sonnets

by William Shakespeare

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How many syllables are in each line of a Shakespearean sonnet?

Expert Answers

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I'll address each portion of your question individually: 

  1. A Shakespearean sonnet is written in iambic pentameter, a type of meter. "Iambe" is a foot, or a unit of measurement in language, that contains two syllables. "Pentameter" is a unit of measurement for lines in poetry that means "five", measuring the number of feet in a line. Therefore, a line of Shakespearean sonnet has five iambes, or a total of 10 syllables. 
  2. The rhyme scheme of a Shakespearean sonnet is split across the four different stanzas in the sonnet. It reads as such: ABAB/CDCD/EFEF/GG
  3. It seems that you may be working with a collection of sonnets, so answering this question for you would be redundant. What I can do is this: define each literary device and attach several links where you can find more examples, if need be. 

    Alliterationthe repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of several words appearing in close proximity to one another (Peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers)

    Consonance: the repetition of consonant sounds within words appearing in close proximity to one another (all mammals named Pam are clammy)

    Euphony: words or phrases that are distinguished as having particularly soothing or beautiful sounds, usually with repeated vowels and smooth consonants (Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness)

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