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    What makes a sonnet a sonnet? (is it the number of line? rhyme scheme? structure?) I feel as if it is something I should know for my exam and yet it's something I've never been taught. Can anybody help?
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    1. 14 lines, technically 3 quatrains followed by a rhyming couplet
    2. An obvious rhyme scheme, normally abab cdcd efef gg
    3. Normally an iambic pentameter

    Be aware that all sonnets don't fit these rules - if it has 14 lines and an obvious rhyme scheme, likelihood is, it's a sonnet.

    Good luck with the exams :eek:
    skevvybritt x
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    I assume you're doing Shakespeare's sonnets on Wednesday...do you have notes on the history of sonnets, with Petrarch and stuff? Rhyme scheme varies depending on the kind of sonnet (Petrarchan's different from Shakespearean). They're supposed to have fourteen lines, but Shakespeare's "O thou, my lovely boy" one only has twelve and is arranged as six couplets, but we still call it a sonnet because, Helen Vendler reckons, it is a sonnet in sentiment. Shakespearean sonnets are also (generally) in iambic pentameter, I think it's supposed to be that and the fourteen line (three quatrains and a couplet) structure that make it a sonnet.
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    There are tqo types; basically it is a 14-line poem arranged in one of two ways. The Petrachan (or Italian) sonnet has a firt part that is arranged into 8 lines (octave) and a second part of six lines (the sestet). Generally (it can vary) the rhyme scheme is abbaabba cdecde. The other sonnet type is Shakespearean (English). The rhyme scheme is divided into three quatrains and and then a couplet. It usually follows abab cdcd efef gg.

    HTH
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    I'm not doing the sonnet paper (I'd hopefully know what a sonnet was if I was!) just the war lit paper, but I have a copy of past exam answers and a few poems are referred to as sonnets and I thought maybe it is something that I should include! Thanks for your help people! x
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    But Shakespearean sonnets can still often be divided, in terms of substance/sentiment, into an octave and a sestet. That pattern, incidentally, is supposed to reflect the Golden Mean.
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    (Original post by rachplatt)
    I'm not doing the sonnet paper (I'd hopefully know what a sonnet was if I was!) just the war lit paper, but I have a copy of past exam answers and a few poems are referred to as sonnets and I thought maybe it is something that I should include! Thanks for your help people! x
    Quite an interesting point to look at if you got a sonnet on a war lit paper would be the tension between the form (sonnet) and the theme (war). By and large sonnets have always tended to be love poems and when a poet chooses to write a sonnet he or she's going to be aware of that. Yeats wrote a sonnet (Leda and the Swan) about rape; it's ironic that a form normally used to express love is used to describe rape. In the same way I'd imagine there are various similar things to look out for in a sonnet concerned with war. From having studied satire in my last year at school, war certainly brings out great bitterness in poets and expressing it in a form associated with love is a good way of really emphasising the bitterness and cruelty of war.
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    For the war unit , you can identify The soldier (rupert brooke) , Sonney by Edna st vincent millay and when you see millions of the mouthless dead b y charles Sorley as sonnets.
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    thank you, thank you, thank you :-D
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    Or, you could just pick the entire Rupert Brooke 1914 sonnet sequence rather than concentrating on one of them.
 
 
 
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