Angel L Villanueva

A Shakespearean sonnet consists of 140 syllables in 14 lines of 10 syllables each. They are arranged in unstressed and stressed patterns, called iambs. An iamb is a foot of two syllables, with the first one unstressed and the second one stressed. The result is a line that reads like a steady heart beat: daDUM, daDUM.

There are times when poets change this rhythm to add variety to a poem, ideally in the first four feet, by using another meter scheme, like a trochee. With a trochee, the first syllable is stressed and the second is unstressed.

A Shakespearean sonnet is usually arranged into three quatrains, with an idea presented in the first quatrain, followed by a change of thought, usually at the 9th line, and then closing with a summarizing couplet.

A Petrarchan sonnet, also known as an Italian sonnet, is divided into two parts, the first part being an octave and the second being a sestet. The rhyme scheme for the octave is typically abba abba, while the sestet is more flexible, allowing for pleasing varieties.

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