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History of the Sonnet and History of Shakespeare

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Essay title: History of the Sonnet and History of Shakespeare

The English Renaissance saw the emergence of the English sonnet as it flourished through poets of such as Shakespeare, Spenser, and Wyatt. The word sonnet comes from the Italian word sonetto, meaning “a little song.” The sonnet style of poetry has certain characteristics that contrast other styles of poetry.

The history of the sonnet style can be traced back to the 13th century. It was invented by poets who used this highly structured poetic style to explore their feelings about love and mortality. The sonnet was popularized by Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374); the sonnet style grew so popular that centuries later, poets all over Europe were composing sonnets. The Italian sonnet that Petrarch used was probably invented by Giacomo da Lentini, head of the Sicilian School under Frederick II. The sonnet was introduced into England by Thomas Wyatt in the early 16th century. However, it was his contemporary, the Earl of Surrey who gave the poems the rhyme scheme, meter, and division into quatrains that now characterizes the English sonnet.

Traditional English sonnets have fourteen lines, which are written in iambic pentameter. In the Romance languages, hendecasyllable and Alexandrines are the most widely used meters. They also have set rhyme schemes; for example, English (Shakespearean) sonnets have the rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg, Italian (Petrarchan) sonnets have the rhyme scheme of abbaabba cdecde or abbaabba cdcdcd, and Spenser wrote in abab bcbc cdcd ee rhyme scheme.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English poet and playwright widely regarded as the greatest writer of the English language. Among his many works, he wrote 38 plays and 154 sonnets, as well as a variety of other poems. His sonnets are a collection of 154 poems that deal with such themes as love, beauty, and morality. All but two first appeared in the 1609 publication Shakespeare’s Sonnets. The Sonnets were written over a number of years, probably beginning in the early 1590s.

Sonnet 130 is a very famous poem written by William Shakespeare that described a “Dark Lady.” It is a satire that is a parody of another poem that describes a godly, ideal woman.

“My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red, than her lips red:

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound:

I grant I never saw a goddess go,

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:

And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,

As any she belied with false compare.”

This is the typical Shakespearean sonnet, which is apparent by observation of the iambic pentameters and the rhyme scheme. Sonnet 130 is number 130 out of 154 in his sonnet sequence. In the first 3 quatrains of the sonnet, it seems that Shakespeare is not at all praising the woman he is describing, but the couplet at the end shows that she is not perfect but the speaker still loves the woman. This sonnet talks about love and mortality like a typical sonnet, in the couplet the poet directly states that he loves his mistress and she’s not a goddess, implying that no matter how old she becomes the poet will always love her.

According to scholars, sonnets 127-152 concern a “Dark Lady,” a woman who attracted both the poet and the young man described in sonnets 1-126. The scholars have many guesses on who the dark lady is that Shakespeare is talking about; many guesses include this woman being from an African descent.

In sonnets

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