Researching the Sonnet
A sonnet is a type of poem that originated in the 13th century and comes from the Italian word “Sonnetto” which means little song. Throughout European history many famous poets and writers have used sonnets in their plays, books and as poems because they follow a strict rhythm that feels normal to a human saying it. By that I mean each line is 10 syllables following iambic pentameter which is exactly one breath of a human. Famous people like William Shakespeare used them in his plays for when his characters were speaking pros and he also wrote 154 individual sonnets.
Sonnets were believed to have originated from Italy with records of Dante Alighieri and Francesco Petrarch writing 100’s of sonnets in about the 14th century. However some believe that Dante came a bit later varying from Petrarch by having some lines with 7 syllables and thus having 6 lines per quatrain. Very soon after the introduction of the Italian sonnet, many English poets began to adapt and develop the sonnet so it fit the native language better. Thomas Wyatt was the first person to introduce the sonnet but he and the Earl of Surrey mainly translated Petrarch’s work rather than creating their own in the 16th century. However it was the Earl of Surrey who gave the English sonnet its rhyming meter, structural divisions into quatrains and the first recorded English sonnets were published in the book Songes and Sonnetts in 1557. It was, however, Sir Philip Sidney's in 1591 that started the English vogue for sonnet sequences: the next two decades saw sonnet sequences by William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Michael Drayton, Samuel Daniel, Fulke Greville, William Drummond of Hawthornden, and many others.
There are 3 different types of sonnet; the Italian “Petrarchian Sonnet” which originates from Francesco Petrarch, the Spensarian Sonnet and the Shakespearean Sonnet.
A Petrarchian sonnet is comprised of an octet (8 lines) followed by a sestet (6 lines), all...