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When was it invented?!
As a poetic form it first appeared in Italy in
the late 13th century and was given its
classical form by the Italian poet
The common theme of his sonnets was
unrequited love.
These were love poems addressed to an
idealised woman who failed to return the
poet's love.…read more

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Petrarchan (Italian) Sonnets
Octave (a stanza of 8 lines)
Sestet (a concluding stanza of 6 lines)
Octave rhyming scheme ABBA ABBA (two
Sestet rhyming scheme CDECDE…read more

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English Sonnets
Brought into English by the Earl of Surrey
and Sir Thomas Wyatt.
Brilliantly developed by Shakespeare.
Widely used by other English poets
including: Milton, Wordsworth, Byron,
Keats, Donne and Hopkins.
Adapted by many modern poets…read more

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Shakespearean (English) Sonnet
STRUCTURE ­ written as three quatrains (stanzas of
four lines) and a concluding couplet. Some writers
followed the more classical Italian version.
THEME ­ Shakespeare centred on aspects of love, but
other English poets extended the sonnet to cover
descriptions of nature, inner struggles of the soul, hymns
of praise to God and other diverse subjects.
RHYTHM ­ Classical and Shakespeare sonnets follow a
predominantly IAMBIC rhythm. Iambic rhythms have two
syllables, with the accent always on the second syllable,
as, for example, in the word "compare". Other
sonneteers have adopted much greater rhythmic
freedom.…read more

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Analysing a Shakespeare Sonnet
Taking a closer look
What is the sonnet about?
Who is it from and who is it to? What can we tell about them?
First quatrain: an explanation of the main idea.
What is the main idea? Highlight it on your copy of the poem.
Second quatrain: the idea is explained further or made more
How is the idea explained or complicated? Make notes on your
Third quatrain: volta (a twist or conflict).
What is the twist or conflict? Highlight it on your copy.
Couplet: summarises and leaves the reader with a conclusion.
What is the concluding idea the reader is left with?
What kind of images are used?
What does the diction contribute to the poem in terms of mood or
tone?…read more

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