Types of Sonnets

       A sonnet is a fourteen line poem  with a fixed rhyme scheme expresses one single thought or emotion and were usually written in iambic pentameter. Sonnet was originated in the Italian poetry which was composed at the court of Holy  Roman Emperor Fredrick ll in Sicily. The term sonnet was derived from the word sonneto which means ” a little sound or strain”. It was invented in 13th C  by Giacomo da Lentini who was the head of Sicilian school. By the 13th C, this poem  followed strict rhyme scheme and structure. During the Renaissance time ,  sonnet was the  choice mode or expressing romantic love. Later, Dante, a  genius used it in the latter half of 13th C. He may have been the predecessor of writing sonnets.

     There  are various types of including Italian sonnets,  spenserian sonnets and Shakespearean sonnets.

Italian sonnets:

      The other name for this sonnet  is Petrarchan  sonnet and also known as classical model because later it was followed by many other countries in the world. This sonnet is divided into two parts. The first eight lines are called octave and the next part consists of six lines called as seset.The octave has two rhyme  say a and b. The rhyme scheme for the octave is abbaabba. The seset sometimes has three rhymes sometimes different from those which employed in the octave.Eg: cdecde. At the end of the octave,  there  is a well marked pause  called caesura which is indicated by a punctuation or command or fullstop. The caesura is followed by Volta which means a change in thought or summarized. Milton  followed this type of Italian sonnet in his few works. In the hands of Milton, the scope of sonnets  were greatly widened  and it included within its range  all human feelings and experience.

Shakespearean sonnets:

       Sonnets was introduced by Thomas Wyatt in the first half of the 15th Century. Along with Wyatt, Henry Howard , Earl of surrey were the poets who made some changes in the Italian sonnets.  Surrey in particular adopted a different rhyme scheme. His rhyme schemes were ababcdcdefefgg. Concluding lines are called as couplets which is gg.  There is no structural connections . Later, Shakespeare followed his own form and it became famous after him. Italian sonnets have pause, comma or Volta but in the Shakespearean sonnets, there is no pause or change in thought. Only in the final couplet where the highest peak of the poet’s emotions are reached. The following sonnet by Shakespeare named “Remembrance ” is the model for the Shakespearean sonnets. There  was no set range of subjects for sonnets but Shakespeare limited its theme to love . Most of his sonnets celebrates his attachment  to his young friend to whom they are dedicated. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets which were all published together in ‘quarto’ in 1609.

Spenserian sonnets:

      This type of sonnets are structurally interconnected with three quatrains and it’s rhyme schemes are ababbcbccdcdee. There is a change of theme or meaning in the poem that usually  occurs in the nineth  line of the sonnet. Among the three types of sonnet,  this type of sonnets are little bit difficult to write. Spenserian sonnets requires two fewer rhymes. Best example for spenserian sonnet is ” One Day I Wrote Her Name Upon The Strand”.

Categories: Literature