What is English Sonnet?

Shakespeare changed the rhyming scheme to abab; cdcd; efef; gg. He used the iambic pentameter. He used three quatrains and a couplet. The concluding couplet is usually an unusual twist given to the argument of the body of the argument in three quatrains. So, the Shakespearean sonnet can also be divided into two parts: statement-cum-argument, and conclusion.

In the Shakespearean sonnet, the three quatrains and the couplet form separate units of rhyme, thought and grammar. Each quatrain carries a single unit of thought, and each is a separate sentence grammatically. A full stop at the end of each quatrain and the couplet makes them grammatically and logically complete. The first three quatrains rhyme alternately while the couplet has regular rhymes.

Most of the new form of sonnets Shakespeare wrote usually presents an anti-Petrarchan view of love. In one of this most popular sonnets “My Mistress’s Eyes…”, being tired of the hackneyed images and symbols of the Petrarchan sonnet, Shakespeare develops a description of his beloved in a surprisingly different way. Shakespeare also deals with love in relation to art, philosophy and human relationship.

Published on 23 Jan. 2014 by Kedar Nath Sharma