A sonnet is a type of poem that became popular during the Renaissance period in Europe. There are three main types of sonnets: Shakespearean, Spenserian and Petrarchan. All sonnets are highly structured with strict rules about meter, rhyme, length and other features.
Characteristics of All Sonnets
All sonnets have the following three features in common: They are 14 lines long, have a regular rhyme scheme and a strict metrical construction, usually iambic pentameter. Iambic pentameter means that each line has 10 syllables in five pairs, and that each pair has stress on the second syllable.
Shakespearean sonnets, named after William Shakespeare, have the following rhyme scheme: abab, cdcd, efef, gg. It is divided into three quatrains, or four lines -- the first of which is abab -- and one concluding couplet -- gg. The first line in the first quatrain rhymes with the third line; both are "a"; the second line rhymes with the fourth, which are both "b."
Spenserian sonnets, named after Edmund Spenser, like Shakespearean sonnets, are divided into three quatrains and a couplet. But the rhyme scheme is different; it is abab, bcbc, cdcd, ee.
Petrarch sonnets, named after Francesco Petrarcas, have two quatrains and two tercets, which are three-line stanzas. The rhyme scheme is usually abba, abba, cde, cde.
Structure of a Shakespearean Play
William Shakespeare is considered by most to be the greatest writer in the English language. He wrote 154 sonnets, two long poems...
How to Write a Shakespearean Sonnet
A Shakespearean sonnet, also known as an English Sonnet, is a 14-line poem that follows a specific rhyme scheme and meter. However,...
How to Write a Sonnet
A sonnet is a 14-line poem with a fixed rhyme scheme. It's traditionally written in iambic pentameter -- a line of verse...
Characteristics of Old English Poetry
Old English, otherwise known as Anglo-Saxon poetry, was written in the language of Old English between 650 and 1100 A.D. It includes...
What Are the Different Types of Sonnets?
Sonnets speak of love and strife, and they usually do so in three types or styles: Shakespearean, Petrarchan and Spenserian. All are...
Types of English Literature
A blend of Germanic and Latin-based languages, English has produced a literary canon that spans centuries. From the eighth-century epic poem “Beowulf”...