Poetry comparison essay- 'Poem' and 'Sonnet 19'

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Megan King

For my assignment I am going to compare two sonnets, written in early-mid 1590 and the second in 1990s, by popular poets William Shakespeare and Simon Armitage. I will be writing about their content, meaning, structure, style, rhyme pattern, persona, imagery, language and the tone set in each piece of writing and comparing how each characteristic is similar and different.

In the early-mid 1590s, William Shakespeare wrote a sonnet, in his own style – Shakespearean – in the traditional context: love. It was vaguely called ‘Sonnet 19’, which suggests he is displaying that perhaps he was not completely connected, emotionally, with the sonnet. However, this fact could be contradicted in the way that all his sonnets were simply identified with a number, this particular one not being different.

The sonnet itself is written as a persona; it is meant to be perceived as coming from a character, possibly from one of his plays? It is about the loved one of the persona, aging with time, and the narrator pleading to ‘devouring’ Time (time, in this case, being classed as a noun) that He shouldn’t age his loved one. In this sense, it is a traditional sonnet; it is about love.

Consisting of fourteen lines, and a structure of an octane, followed by a quatrane and then a couplet; it is a typical Shakespearean sonnet.

This poem has a rhyme scheme of ABAB, CDCD, EFEF for the first twelve lines of it, however for the final couplet; a simple GG is used instead. This rhyme scheme gives a rhythm to the sonnet, and creates a less drastic and eerie atmosphere when reading; because the rhythm is more bouncy that that of a poem without the use of direct, full rhyme.

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Also, the iambic pentameter present in the sonnet gives out a more flowing beat when reading the poem. It also makes the sonnet seem a little less dark and tense, as it releases ease for the readers. The ten syllables on each line are important to the poem, to increase flow and to possibly give the audience a little humor; whether or not this was purposeful we don’t know. But we do know Shakespeare mean to include ten syllables in each and every line of ‘Sonnet 19’.

The first octane introducing the problem the persona is faced with: in this ...

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