Short notes on Sonnet

Sonnet is a short lyric, consisting 14 lines, that developed in Italy in the middle ages. The sonnets are typically written in iambic pentameter.

The sonnets originally introduced by a 13th century Italian poet, Giacomo da Lentini, but was popularized by a 14th century humanist scholar Francesco Petrarca, who also known as father of sonnet.

The sonnets are broadly divided into three styles;

  1. The Petrarcan style, which is the most common consisting of an octave and sestet.
  2. The Spenserian style, which has four quatrains and a couplet, rhyming ABAB BCBC CDCCD EE.
  3. The Shakespearian style, which follows the Spenserian line scheme of four quatrains and a couplet, but different in its rhyme scheme i.e. ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.

The sonnet become popular in Italian poetry primarily as a vehicle for the expression of love and sensuality, a heritage that it carried with it into its English versions.

Francesco Petrarca, an Italian poet who was mostly known for the practice of the same and its canzoniere (a collection of love sonnets, is a kind of literary compendium of the passions of the lover).

The sonnet is in many way, is the most appropriate form of the articulation and expression of the kind of sentiments that came to be characterized as courtly love. Its brevity prevents excessive sentiment from becoming sententious and forcing such a sentiment to be articulated through intense imagery and condensed rhythm.

At the same time its internal organization allows the poet a degree of flexibility and innovativeness in terms of constructing the poem as a dramatic movement or series of movements that mirrored the movements of his own passions and feelings.

One of the important virtues of any courtier, according to the influential Italian writer Castiglione in The Book of the Courtier was moderation. The moderation in terms as we can see how important the sonnet was a form of the lyric that held in moderation even as it hinted at. The overwhelming passions of the courtly lover. Perhaps the most significantly, it allowed the poet to represent love as an intense yet elusive, almost ephermeral and trans- wordly feeling. An ideology of love that characterized the poetry of the courtly love tradition. In this sense, the sonnet was the ideal form for the articulation of this dominant conception of love in the Renaissance.

Therefore, the sonnets initiated a way of thinking and writing about love in English poetry that was fundamentally chivalric, based on feudal themes and ideas and centered on the figure of the beloved as mistress of the poet.

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