Alyssa Jennings

History of the Sonnet

The origin of the Sonnet dates back to the thirteenth century. Credited for the invention of the Sonnet is Giacomo de Lentini, but Francesco Patrarca is the most famous writer of these in the early stages. During the Elizabethan period (when Queen Elizabeth was in throne), the English, adopted and used the sonnet form often. Shakespeare gave the Sonnet the structure that we usually use in this time. ("Richardson")

The Purpose

The original purpose for these Italian sonnets were for love poems. When Shakespeare introduced them in England they were still used as loved poems but people also used them to express their feelings and thoughts. ("Sonnet")

How can you tell?

A sonnet has 14 lines in iambic pentameter and can have multiple different rhyme schemes. The most popular schemes are the Petrarchan (ABBA ABBA CDECDE / CDCDCD) or the Shakespearean (ABAB CDCD EFEF GG). Sonnet means "little song" or "little sound". ("sonnet")
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Example of a Sonnet...

Shall I compare thee to a summer day?

Thou are more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer's lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed,

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,

Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

- Shakespeare

("Sonnet Examples")

Works Cited

Richardson, Rachel. "Learning the Sonnet." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, 29 Aug. 2013. Web. 03 Dec. 2014.

"Sonnet." Sonnet. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2014.

"Sonnet Examples." YourDictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2014.