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Thursday, 16 September 2010
The Sonnet : Infinite Riches In a Little Room
The Sonnet is a lyrical poem of 14 lines with a definite rhyme scheme. There are two types of sonnets in general the Petrarchan Sonnet and the English Sonnet popularly known as the Shakespearean Sonnet as Shakespearean was an ardent practitioner of the Sonnet form.
The Petrarchan sonnet (with the rhyme scheme abba, abba, cde, cde) has two divisions: the first eight lines called the octave and the remaining six lines called the sestet. The octave is further divided into two sections of four lines each known as the quatrains. The Sonneteer, usually, presents a problem or an argument in the octave and then tries to resolve the problem or argument in the sestet.
The Shakespearean Sonnet follows a different pattern (with the rhyme scheme abba, cdcd, efef, gg) with three quatrains and the final couplet. Love in its myriad forms was the trendiest theme of the sonnets.
At times the poets experimented with the form of the sonnet and Mathew Arnold’s sonnet ‘Shakespeare’ is a typical example of this. The basic Petrarchan structure is modified in this sonnet with the turning point coming in the line 11 instead in the line 9 as in Petrarch. Arnold employs the rhyme scheme abba, acca, de, de, ff: the octave remains divided into two quatrains but the sestet is divided into three rhyming couplets. This modification enables Arnold to basically maintain the Shakespearean structure in a way; may be as a tribute to the great exponent of the Sonnet form- the Bard.