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Explore aspects of the sonnet tradition through reference to a range of material you have studied?

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Explore aspects of the sonnet tradition through reference to a range of material you have studied? A sonnet is a 14-line poem with each line having 10 syllables. It originated in the 13th century and was introduced into England in the 16th century by Sir Thomas Wyatt. The Petrarchan (or Italian) sonnet characteristically consists of an eight-line octave, rhyming abbaabba, that states a problem, asks a question, or expresses an emotional tension, followed by a six-line sestet, of varying rhyme schemes, that resolves the problem, answers the question, or resolves the tension. The rhyme scheme for the sestet is cdecde. For instance, Wilfred Owen uses the first eight-lines to describe how deaths at war are laid to rest and the sestet to describe how the same thing is done back home (Anthem for Doomed Youth). The rhyme scheme for the sestet is cdecde. This is how the famous poet Francesco Petrarca, thus why it is named the "Petrarchan Sonnet" chose to write his sonnets. However William Shakespeare, a famous English poet, used another sonnet-rhyming scheme his is as follows: The first twelve lines are made up of three quatrains (blocks of four lines linked by rhyme). The last two lines form a rhyming couplet, e.g. a rhyming pair: abab, cdcd, efef, gg William Shakespeare is often considered the greatest writer of English literature that ever lived. By 1594 he was a rising playwright in London and an actor in a leading theatre company, who performed at the Globe Theatre from 1599. ...read more.


But his dim view of London didn't affect Wordsworth he saw London in his own, different light. "All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep". (Composed upon Westminster Bridge, line 8 & 9) Another famous English poet was John Keats (1795-1820), he died young and as a result his work on sonnet and odes were only fully appreciated when he died. His first mature work was the sonnet "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer" (1816), written after fully devoting himself to poetry at the age of twenty-one. Marked by vivid imagery, great sensuous appeal, and a yearning for the lost glories of the classical world, his finest works are among the greatest of the English traditional poet. During a few intense months of 1819, due to the fact that he discovered he had tuberculosis, he produced many of his greatest works: several great odes (including "Ode on a Grecian Urn," "Ode to a Nightingale," and "To Autumn"). After these epics he began writing sonnets about finding love too late, this is ironic as you would expect to hear this from someone who is in their late eighties not from a young man who isn't even twenty yet. In his sonnet "When I have fears" he talks of how his enjoyable days of life are almost over. He refers to shadows implying that his life is begging to fade away into the shadows. ...read more.


The particular technique he uses is known as onomatopoeia. Examples are shown below: "Only the monstrous anger of the guns, Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle" (Anthem for Doomed Youth, lines 2 & 3) Owens bitterness is shown enormously in this sonnet and continues throughout the octave, in the sestet Owen describes the funeral in which is given back home. It shows the comparison made, as it is a very peaceful funeral whereas on the battlefield the only things that can be heard are the sound of gunfire and death. He begins the sestet in the same way as the octave, with a rhetorical question. "What candles may be held to speed them all?" (Anthem for Doomed Youth, line 9) To conclude, the six poets I have written about all had their different views upon their own chosen subjects. And how sonnet have been passed down through the generations and what a sonnet has become today in the modern world. Shakespeare wrote about how love was timeless whereas Keats had found love too late. Browning wrote of how dedicated she was to her husband whereas Rossetti wrote of how she wanted to be remembered when she was gone. Wordsworth saw things that other people could not see and thus achieved his romantic poetic title. And finally Owen portrayed his anguish and hatred of war in his sonnets with an equisetic use of language and vocabulary. All the poets who wrote sonnets, young and old have entranced millions of readers throughout the world. ...read more.

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