The Use Of The Sonnet Essay, Research Paper
A poet called Petrach developed the sonnet form in Italy. It is a poem made up of 14 lines of iambic pentameter. An Italian rhyme scheme is ABBA ABBA in the first octave. The sestet can be CDCDCD which was the original scheme, or CDECDE. The sonnet was brought to England by Sir Thomas Wyatt and The Earl of Surrey who visited Italy during the Renaissance. Sonnets were originally wrote in Latin but the English poets found the Latin rhyme scheme hard and restrictive in the English language. This was how the English and Shakespearean form developed. They still used 14 lines of iambic pentameter, but the rhyme scheme changed to ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. It would then be three quatrains and then finish up with a rhyming couplet.
The Italian and Shakespearean are the most common forms of sonnets. A poet called Milton changed the petrachan form to fit his own style. This was known as a Miltonic Sonnet. Italian sonnets always had a pause between the octave; the first octave usually presented a general idea while the sestet would be more concluding. The English sonnet had the pause between the quatrain and the rhyming couplet. Instead of dividing his sonnet into two parts, Milton let his ideas flow onto a final conclusion or statement.
The sonnet ?Let me not to the marriage of true minds? is a Shakespearean sonnet written in the 16th Century. Shakespeare is contemplating about love and how you only have one ?true? love and how you should never let them go. Shakespeare does this by comparing love to a guiding star.
?It is the star to every wandering bark?
In those days a ship would be called a bark and would navigate by using the stars. This symbolizes that when you have found you love it is the star that can guide you through life. Shakespeare is so sure that love is like this that he wrote:
?If this be error, and upon me prov?d
I never writ, nor no man ever lov?d?
This suggests that he feels so strong about true love that if he is wrong about it he must never have loved before.
In Shakespeare?s time, people did not always marry because of love; they would marry because of financial situations or to increase estates. When reading this sonnet I got the feeling that maybe Shakespeare had married because of one of these reasons and then after the marriage found his true love.
?O, no! It is an ever – fixed mark?
This suggests that he is feeling guilty about how he has betrayed his wife by finding another woman who he truly loves. This sonnet also expresses the importance of pure love, love that is not just physical or just about the mind, a love that combines heart, mind and soul.
The second sonnet I looked at was called ?On First Looking into Chapman?s Homer? which was written in the 19th Century. When I first read this sonnet I was a little confused as to what it was about, but as I read it a second and third time through I began to notice that the poet was speaking of another poet be the name Chapman. The first line is a short statement about where he has traveled.
?Much have I traveled in the realms of gold?
This suggests that the person who wrote this poem has traveled a lot and been in among the riches. The sonnet goes on to compare Chapman’s poetry to that of Apollo:
?Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.?
The poet thinks that Chapman’s poetry was so amazing that, Apollo who was the Greek God of poetry was no way as good as him. He then goes on to compare how he felt when he heard this poem to how someone felt when they had discovered a new planet:
?Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken.?
When writing these lines the poet has used the word ?ken? which is another word for knowledge, this was so that it would rhyme with the word ?serene? so that it would fit the rhyming scheme of a sonnet.
The third sonnet was called ?Anthem for Doomed Youth? and was written in the 19th Century. When I heard the title I thought that it was rather contradicting as when you think of the word ?Anthem? you picture something patriotic and glorified but when I heard ?Doomed Youth? it sounded sad, and morbid. This is probably because youth is thought more of as a lively and prosperous time of life but in this context it is thought more as an awful time. This sonnet is about the millions of soldiers that died fighting for their lives during the war. In the first line it mentions passing bells.
?What passing ? bells for these who die as cattle??
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.?
Passing bells used to be the bells that were rung when someone had died or when a funeral is being held. This line is a short ?snappy? question, which would draw the reader in and catch their attention. It is drawing our minds to think about how many people have died and how it would be impossible to recognize and remember everyone of them when they are dying in huge numbers, just like cattle. Instead of hearing the passing bell ringing which would normally happen, they hear the sound of gun shots around them.
Back at home while the war was happening, the family of those fighting were filled with propaganda which labeled fighting as a glorified duty and told that dying for ones country was a true honor. I think that this poet write this sonnet to try and make the soldiers families realize what war was really like. When a soldier came back from war and was reunited with his family, many of them chose to return to the battlefields with his friends. This was because their family had no real knowledge of the trauma they had gone through and the soldiers would feel like they only people they could relate to would be their fellow men who knew the truth about the battle fields.
The Dead Crab
By Andrew Young
A rosy shield upon its back,
That not the hardest storm could crack,
From whose sharp edges projected out
Black pin ? point eyes staring about;
Beneath, the well ? knit cote ? armure
That gave to its weak belly, power;
The clustered legs with plated joints
That ended in stiletto points;
The claws like mouths it held outside: –
I can not think this creature died
By storm or fish or sea ? fowl harmed
Walking the sea so heavily armed;
Or does it make for death to be
Oneself a living armory?
I have chosen this sonnet because I love the way it is written. It is though someone is thinking aloud and wondering how this crab may have died. You would think it would be hard for a crab to be killed as it is almost invincible to all other fish and creatures because of its hard shell.
?A rosy shield upon its back?
And also it?s large claws to fend off any other predators.
?Its claws like mouths…?
The rhyming scheme for this sonnet is AA BB CC DD. It is also written in iambic pentameter.