Presentation on theme: "Sonnets. The most common forms of the English-language sonnet are “Petrarchan” (Italian) or “Shakespearean” (English) A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem."— Presentation transcript:
The most common forms of the English-language sonnet are “Petrarchan” (Italian) or “Shakespearean” (English) A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem in two parts: – an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines.) – The octave often presents a problem or question, or situation; and the sestet answers it with a solution to the problem, an answer to the question, or a comment on the situation. – The sestet, especially in the Shakespearean sonnet, is divided into a four-line stanza and a couplet which sums up the poet’s conclusion. In between octave and sestet there is often a shift, a changing of gear, called the “volta.” Sometimes the volta is indicated by a line break, sometimes not. Caveat: not all sonnets, even Shakespeare’s, are constructed this way—sometimes, for example, a poet presents related images in three quatrains followed by a couplet.
Traditional sonnets normally use one of two basic rhyme schemes. – The Italian/ Petrarchan sonnet has a tight rhyme scheme, typically abba abba cdcdcd – The English /Shakespearean sonnet is looser, abab, cdcd, efef, gg. Many sonnets use a combination of the Italian and English patterns. The sonnet’s hallmarks are really this “way of thinking,” not a particular rhyme scheme. In fact, many contemporary sonnets depart from rhyme and meter altogether, although they are still restricted to 14 lines.
If We Must Die Claude McKay If we must die—let it not be like hogs Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot, While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, Making their mock at our accursed lot. If we must die—oh, let us nobly die, So that our precious blood may not be shed In vain; then even the monsters we defy Shall be constrained to honor us though dead! Oh, Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe; Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave, And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow! What though before us lies the open grave? Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack, Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back! 1.How do we know it’s a sonnet? 2.What line has the volta? 3.What conclusion does the couplet show?
Prologue to Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Whose misadventured piteous overthrows Do with their death bury their parents' strife. The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love, And the continuance of their parents' rage, Which, but their children's end, nought could remove, Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage; The which if you with patient ears attend, What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. 1.How do we know it’s a sonnet? 2.What line has the volta? 3.What conclusion does the couplet show? Mutiny—rebellion against authority Piteous—evoking pity
Sonnet to a Negro in Harlem Helene M. Johnson You are disdainful and magnificent— Your perfect body and your pompous gait, Your dark eyes flashing solemnly with hate, Small wonder that you are incompetent To imitate those whom you so despise— Your shoulders towering high above the throng, Your head thrown back in rich, barbaric song, Palm trees and mangoes stretched before your eyes. Let others toil and sweat for labor's sake And wring from grasping hands their need of gold. Why urge ahead your supercilious feet? Scorn will efface each footprint that you make. I love your laughter arrogant and bold. You are too splendid for this city street. 1.How do we know it’s a sonnet? 2.What line has the volta? 3.What conclusion does the couplet show? Supercilious—haughty Efface--Erase
Yet Do I Marvel Countee Cullen I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind, And did He stoop to quibble could tell why The little buried mole continues blind, Why flesh that mirrors Him must some day die, Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus(1) Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus(2) To struggle up a never-ending stair. Inscrutable His ways are, and immune To catechism by a mind too strewn With petty cares to slightly understand What awful brain compels His awful hand. Yet do I marvel at this curious thing: To make a poet black, and bid him sing! 1. a legendary king of Lydia condemned to stand up to the chin in a pool of water in Hades and beneath fruit-laden boughs only to have the water or fruit recede at each attempt to drink or eat 2. a legendary king of Corinth condemned eternally to repeatedly roll a heavy rock up a hill in Hades only to have it roll down again as it nears the top 1.How do we know it’s a sonnet? 2.What line has the volta? 3.What conclusion does the couplet show?