This essay deals with „Sonnet 55“ by William Shakespeare and „Ozymandias“ by Percy Bysshe Shelley in a view to point out both the similarities and dissimilarities of aforesaid sonnets. The essay is going to be structured as follows: the form, the analysis and the summary.
Both of the chosen texts are in a form of a sonnet. In general, a sonnet is a poem with fourteen lines, usually written in iambic pentameter. As it firstly appeared in Italy in the poet Petrarch’s work, the original form of sonnet is called Petrarchan sonnet or Italian sonnet and is divided into two parts – one octave (rhyming ABBAABBA/ABBACDDC) and one sestet (rhyming CDCDCD/CDECDE). But neither Shakespeare nor Shelley wrote their work in the original Petrarchan form. They both created their own style of a sonnet only respecting the number of lines. Shakespeare’s sonnet might be divided into four parts, rather than in two: three quatrains (ABAB) and one couplet (CC). Therefore, in Sonnet 55, for instance, we can see rhymes as A: room – doom, B: enmity – posterity, and C: arise – eyes. There is another interesting thing about Shakespeare’s sonnets – it seems the poet tends to graduate the tension, since it produces a new topic or question in each quatrain accomplished by a couplet with a kind of final resolution or summary.
Shelley’s sonnet Ozymandias does not evince any Petrarchan bequest as well. Rather, it combines the original octave and sestet together, in order to, graduates the poem like in case of Shakespeare. And it results in an extraordinary rhythmical masterpiece. The form of the sonnet is then ABABACDCEDEFEF –A: land – sand – command, B: stone – frown, C: read – fed, D: things – kings, and E: appear – despair – bare and F: decay - away. Even though the sonnets might be regarded as non-standard, it is their originality and unique concept that make them the most read, studied and analysed ones.
The slight summing up of Sonnet 55 might be expressed as: The...