Meaning of Sonnet

What is Sonnet:

A sonnet is a poetic composition of fourteen lines, usually consonant rhyme, which are divided into two quartets and two triplets. The word, as such, comes from the Italian sonnet, and this derives from the Latin sonus, which means 'sound'.

The verses in the classical sonnet are usually of major art, usually hendecasyllables (made up of eleven syllables).

The structure of the sonnet is four stanzas, the first two being quartets and the last two being triplets.

The rhyme in the quartets works as follows: ABBA ABBA, that is, it harmonizes the first verse with the fourth and the second with the third.

For instance:

Fragment of “A Córdoba”, by Luis de Góngora

In triplets, the distribution of rhymes is freer, and these can be combined in different ways, the most used being CDE CDE, CDE DCE, CDE CED, CDC DCD, according to the different correspondences.

For instance:

Fragment of “A Córdoba”, by Luis de Góngora

On the other hand, the content of the sonnet is organized, although not strictly, in the manner of beginning, middle and end.

In this sense, the first quartet presents the theme, which will be expanded in the second.

Next, the first of the triplets reflects on or associates ideas or feelings to the theme of the sonnet, and the second closes it, either with a serious or emotional reflection, or with an ingenious or unexpected twist, which gives meaning to the composition. .

The sonnet, like any poetic or literary composition, addresses the most varied themes that interest the human soul and intellect. Topics such as love and loss, life and death, as well as milder matters, in a tone of satire or humor.

History of the sonnet

The sonnet, according to what is known, first appeared in Italy in the 13th century, where it was first cultivated by Giacomo da Lentini, who is believed to have been the creator of this type of composition, and later spread to the rest of Europe and the world.

In Italy it was cultivated by masters of literature such as Dante Alighieri or Petrarca. In our language, the first of their cultists was the Marqués de Santillana, alias of Íñigo López de Mendoza, but also by geniuses of Castilian poetry such as Lope de Vega, Luis de Góngora, Francisco de Quevedo, Calderón de la Barca or Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz.

In more recent times, there have also been writers who used the sonnet and renewed or altered it, such as Rubén Darío, who used Alexandrian verses in his poems, or Pablo Neruda, who wrote sonnets without rhyme.

Examples of sonnets

Lope de Vega

Francisco de Quevedo

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