Essay on The English Sonnet

764 Words Nov 29th, 2006 4 Pages
The English Sonnet "The sonnet is the most important, as it is the most perfect, of all modern lyric forms" (Reed, 119). Although the sonnet made a relatively late appearance in English literature, it has become a staple in the lyrical expression of private emotions. The sonnet has been used by every poet from Petrarch, who created the original Italian sonnet, to Shakespeare, who reinvented the sonnet's form. Because the Italian, or Petrarchan, sonnet is the original form, it is the legitimate form and contains particular characteristics that differ from the more recent form, the English, or Shakespearean, sonnet. But it is the English sonnet that is more idolized and glorified by English literature students, and it is this recent …show more content…
The greater flexibility in rhyming of the English sonnet is not the main difference between it and its predecessor. What is more important is the storyline and treatment of subject-matter because of the specific line arrangement. Also, the English sonnet uses more logical development by contrast between the first and second quatrains and by example between the second and third. The Petrarchan sonnet on the other hand, struggles to use its second quatrain for constructive development. The English sonnet set itself apart from the Italian sonnet not only in rhyme scheme and line arrangement, but also by developing more genuine expression of emotions through distinctive aspects. One aspect of the English sonnet is the musical capacity and connection the sonnet has. The word sonnet is very close to the musical term sonota. Many scholars believe that "the sonnet was originally written to be sounded, or sung with an accompaniment on a musical instrument" (Lanier, 142). The Petrarchan sonnet was also designed with music in mind. The ability to connect the reader to the sonnet is another distinctive aspect of the English sonnet which perpetuated its popularity even more. No poet created a better connection than William Shakespeare. His sonnets as a whole actually take the effect on of one poem. This feature is called a

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