Sonnets Step-By-Step


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William Shakespeare, The Bard, wrote 154 sonnets. The majority of the sonnets (sonnets 1-126)
are addressed to a young man, a Mr. W. H. (believed to be Henry Wriothesley, The earl of
Southampton). In the first of these sonnets, Shakespeare encourages the man to marry. His
persuasion follows a pattern. First, Shakespeare flatters the young man and proclaims his love
and admiration for him. Then he insists that he should marry and have children so that his
beauty and legacy will continue.
Sonnet: A 14-line poem usually written in iambic pentameter and with any several traditional
rhyme schemes. A sonnet usually consists of two parts: and eight-line section (the octet)
followed by a six-line section (a sestet). The Shakespearean sonnet rhyme scheme is ABAB
CDCD EFEF GG. Sonnets use figurative language, metaphors, similes, and imagery to
convey a message, which is usually more directly said in the last two lines of a sonnet.
Sonnets Step-by-Step
1. Und erstand mete r.
Each syllable in a word is either stressed (hard) or unstressed
(soft) based on the pronunciation of the letters. Stressed syllables are marked with a / over
the letters; unstressed are marked with a u. Mark the following syllables as stressed or
unstressed after pronouncing them aloud.
a. to day
b. un wind
c. flow er
d. let ter
e. caf e ter i a
f. ka boom
g. col lapse
h. tent a tive
2. Unde rstand ia mbic mea su re.
An iambic foot contains two syllables, the first
unstressed and the second stressed. Iambic measure is often called the heartbeat meter
because of its similarity of the rhythm of the human heart. Note the following terms with an
iambic rhythm:
a. Phoenix
b. forbid
c. anew
c. in turn
d. repair
e. heaven
Write six iambic feet below:


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