Spenser and Shakespeare: Contrasting Approaches to Sonnets

1100 WordsApr 23, 20195 Pages
Spenser and Shakespeare: Contrasting Approaches to Sonnets For over many centuries, countless poets have chosen to interpret their thoughts, sentiments and concepts through sonnets as opposed to other varying forms of poetry. Invented in Europe and perfected by Petrarch around the XIV century, the sonnet is considered to be the longest lived form of poetry and has since influenced the works and minds of succeeding artists such as Edmund Spenser and William Shakespeare. Thus, by observing Spenser’s Sonnet LXXV and Shakespeare’s Sonnet 55, it can be deduced that both poets have adopted the structure of sonnets to arouse emotions and imagination, but have taken different perspectives in doing so. Therefore, by means of comparing and…show more content…
For example, one of the lines states: “Nor Mars his sword, no warres quick fire shall burne: the living record of your memory”, which reinforces her immortal memory by comparing her to the sword of Mars, the god of war. With this, he adds: “So till the judgement that your selfe arise, you live in this, and dwell in lovers eies”. Thus, the memory of his lover is so strong, that even when she has died, her memory will live on through his powerful rhyme and others who read it will remain absorbed with her essence. In brief, Spenser and Shakespeare succeeded in interpreting the theme of immortalized love; yet after analysing the two sonnets, it is evident that both took different approaches of comparison to achieve their goal. Furthermore, both Sonnet LXXV and Sonnet 55 also differ in their given form and structure. In this case, Spenser’s sonnets were known to have their own specific format, which led to the emergence of the Spenserian sonnet. Spenserian sonnets were a variant on the traditional English format, but still possessed three quatrains and one couplet. However, the slight variation was found in the unique interlocking rhyme scheme: ABAB BCBC CDCD EE. This rhyme scheme is also established in Sonnet LXXV. To add, the poem was written with an iambic pentameter rhythm, meaning there are five feet in every line. Each foot contains two syllables with an unstressed (X)/stressed (–) pattern which make up the metre of the poem: x – x –

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