Petrarch Sonnet Analysis

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The sonnet was an important part of Renaissance literature. After its invention, by Petrarch in Italy, the beloved poem form spread over Europe (Baldick para 1). Though every country adjusted the strict pattern to their own liking, the main form of the rather short fourteen line poem remained (Baldick para 4). Originally the sonnet was designed as love poems, which would later be elaborated to discuss several themes. Petrarch, as well as later, William Shakespeare and Sir Philip Sidney, wrote their sonnets in sequences. These sequences linked the single poem into a string of many poems, discussing the love to one person. Sidney chose his sonnet sequence, “Astrophel and Stella,” to proclaim the speaker’s love for Stella. While each poem is constructed using a specific form, the complementary sonnet does not have to use the same form, resulting in several sonnet structures…show more content…
Though the order of the sonnet, with three quatrains and a couplet, follows the Elizabethan sonnet, the controlling idea of the love for one woman follows Petrarch’s style. The Volta of Sidney’s sonnet number five takes place in the last six lines when the controlling idea of the quatrains change. Quatrain one’s controlling idea describes that people are “ought” to love the soul rather than the physical appearance because it is God given. Quatrain two describes that people “adore” and worship the other gender’s physical appearance, which is false, as it is not the immortal soul of the person. Quatrain three, however, changes the controlling idea away from the description of what should be, to the current situation. Currently, virtue is the true beauty and physical beauty is only a “shade” of virtue. This quatrain also discusses the mortality of the physical body. The last couplet then finally reveals the turn, that though the speaker is educated in the meaning of love, he “must” love Stella for her physical
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