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What are the technical features of the sonnet form and what common themes do they deal with?

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Introduction

What are the technical features of the sonnet form and what common themes do they deal with? There are a number of technical features of the sonnet form; first of all, all sonnets are fourteen lines long. There are ten syllables in each line, and most of the time they are in the form of iambic pentameter (limping five rhythm), this means that there are five stressed syllables at the start and then five unstressed syllables, this is repeated 5 times. However, Sir Phillip Sydney's sonnet "Loving in truth" has twelve syllables in each line, so that sonnet is an exception to this rule. All of the sonnets rhyme, there are two rhyme schemes, the Shakespearean and Petrarchan sonnet forms. The Shakespearean sonnet form consists of three quatrains and a rhyming couplet at the end of the sonnet. Usually, the rhyming couplet in Shakespearean sonnets summarises the whole poem. The Petrarchan form consists of an octave, and then a sestet. Another thing is that there is a lot of imagery in sonnets. The main types of imagery are similes, metaphors and personification. An example of a simile is in Percy Shelley's sonnet, "To Wordsworth", when he says "thou wert as a lone star." ...read more.

Middle

In this sonnet, he talks about winning the heart of someone he loves by writing a poem. By writing the poem he intends her to feel pity, and then he states that "pity grace obtain." In another words, his love will feel sorry for him and feel sympathy for him. All of this illustrates that love and courtship is a common theme for sonnets. Another common theme is about poetry. The sonnet "Loving in truth and fain in verse my love to show" by Sir Phillip Sidney is more about poetry than love. He talks about writing a poem for his love to read, he says "pleasure might cause her to read" which emphasizes the power of poetry. He also points out that he needs a poem that will entertain her wits. Even in the last line, he makes reference to poetry by saying " 'Fool,' said my Muse to me, 'look in thy heart and write.' " What he meant by this is that the best poems are written by listening to your heart. However, it is ironic that Sir Phillip Sidney must have done a lot of research into writing this poem, and not by listening to his heart. ...read more.

Conclusion

The next sonnet about this theme is Shakespeare's "No longer mourn for me when I am dead." In this sonnet he leaves a message for his love, not to feel bad when he will die. He says "remember not the hand that writ it, for I love you so" which means that this sonnet is also about time because he talks about his love forgetting about him after an amount of time. Also he thinks of the future, when he will be dead, which also shows that this sonnet is about time and he loss of him. Another sonnet about death and time is John Keats' "When I have fears that I may cease to be." At the start of the sonnet, John Keats shows that he is scared of death because he won't be able to write poems again, and that he might not live long enough to write a truly great poem. He also is worried that he won't see his lover again because he says that he "shall never look upon thee more." At the end he mentions "to nothingness do sink" which means that he is probably near to death. Overall, he common themes that are used in sonnets are love and courtship, the power of poetry and death. Asam Zulqurnain ...read more.

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