Sonnet MLA

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Published on August 11, 2007

Author: Flemel

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Two Renaissance Sonnets: A Study in the Compare and Contrast Essay:  Two Renaissance Sonnets: A Study in the Compare and Contrast Essay MLA Title Page:  MLA Title Page Smith 1 Jimbo Smith Mr. Valois Humanities III 27 January 2002 Essay Title Here Double-space between class information and title Create a header containing last name and page # Essay Title:  Essay Title Use the essay topic and your thesis to help focus your title Include the name of the text(s) if you’re writing about literature Introduction:  Introduction For centuries, man has engaged in what is arguably one of the most shared forms of human creative expression—writing love poetry. Poets from one particular historical and literary period, the seventeenth-century English Renaissance, produced a wealth of such romantic verse. As a matter of fact, Shakespeare’s 'Sonnet 73' and Sidney’s 'Sonnet 31' are often considered two of the greatest love poems ever written. One way to gain a basic understanding and appreciation of these two classic love poems is to compare and contrast their form, tone, and meaning. Body Paragraph One: The Topic Sentence:  Body Paragraph One: The Topic Sentence Upon initial inspection, the form of these two love sonnets is quite similar. Body ¶ One: Supporting Sentences:  Body ¶ One: Supporting Sentences Both Shakespeare and Sidney utilize the traditional sonnet structure by writing fourteen rhymed lines of iambic pentameter. Interestingly enough, the two poems begin with an apostrophe, '31' to the 'moon' and '73' to the beloved 'thou' (1). Both poets also skillfully use sound and personification to reinforce meaning. For example, when the moon comes to life in line 1, the almost whispering 's' sound gives this celestial image a languished and plaintive assent that underscores the speaker’s sorrow: 'With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb’st the skies' (emphasis added). Shakespeare uses this same alliterative and connsonative 's' to phonetically give an airtight, coffin-like finality to death: 'Death’s second self that seals up the rest' (8; emphasis added). Body ¶ One: Supporting Sentences Continued:  Body ¶ One: Supporting Sentences Continued Despite these similarities, the form of the two sonnets differs. For example, Sidney wrote a Petrarchan sonnet, composed of an eight-line octave and a six-line sestet whereas Shakespeare crafted an English sonnet, made up of three quatrains and a rhyming couplet. The rhyme schemes of both sonnets adhere to their respective forms: '31' rhymes abba abba cdcd ee; '73' rhymes abab cdcd efef gg. Stylistically, the two poems differ in that Sidney writes using declarative, exclamatory, and interrogative sentences as opposed to Shakespeare’s straightforward declarative sentences. Body Paragraph Two: The Topic Sentence:  Body Paragraph Two: The Topic Sentence An examination of each sonnet’s tone reveals how both poems are an expression of sadness. Body ¶ Two: Supporting Sentences:  Body ¶ Two: Supporting Sentences In '73,' this woe comes from the speaker’s knowledge that love, like life, must 'expire' (11). The diction in line 14 depicts this sorrowful tone—the 'love' that is so dear the speaker must 'leave ere long' (14). The melancholic tone in '31' comes from the 'sharp arrows' (4) of unrequited love, and the speaker’s initial apostrophe to the moon is an emphatic (denoted by the exclamation mark) cry for empathy. Since the moon is indicative of the speaker’s 'state,' (8) then he is, in fact, 'sad' (1) and has a 'wan face' (2). Body ¶ Two: Supporting Sentences Continued:  Body ¶ Two: Supporting Sentences Continued The tone of '31,' however, is also sarcastic and bitter. For example, the speaker pauses sarcastically before his rhetorical question, 'what, may it be [. . .],' and the four questions in the sestet are, in essence, sarcastic statements of what love is not (3). In contrast, the tender tone of '73' is depicted through such touching words as 'thou' and 'behold,' (1) the latter a term of endearment derived from the Old English 'to hold, to keep.' Body Paragraph Three: The Topic Sentence:  Body Paragraph Three: The Topic Sentence Body ¶ Three: Supporting Sentences:  Body ¶ Three: Supporting Sentences In '73,' Shakespeare uses the word love as a noun, 'thy love,' and as a verb, 'to love' (13-14) whereas Sidney uses love as an adjective: the self-reflexive speaker 'feel’st a lover’s case' and has 'Love-aquatinted eyes' (5-6). Yet the messages from these meditations on love differ. For the speaker of '31,' love means one is selfish not selfless. 'Beauties' are 'proud' and 'scorn' those who love them; 'constant love' is unintelligent, and ingratitude is a 'virtue' (10-14). Body ¶ Three: Supporting Sentences Continued:  Body ¶ Three: Supporting Sentences Continued Shakespeare, however, depicts love as constant, humble, and selfless. Instead of standing on the periphery of the relationship 'proud' and ungrateful, the beloved 'see’st' past the speaker’s physical deterioration (9). The beloved remains devoted and continues 'to love.' Thus, the speaker is grateful--his words, and the poem itself, a tribute to both the beloved and to love itself. Conclusion:  Conclusion An effective conclusion restates the thesis in a new and thoughtful way. Here, the essay writer achieves this end by echoing the thesis and carefully and thoughtfully integrating direct quotations into the concluding sentence. Ultimately, the genius of these two classic Renaissance poems lies in the similar yet unique way their form, tone, and meaning communicate the universal subject of love. Today’s reader still 'understands' the pangs of unrequited love yet also 'appreciates' the deep and mature love that is made 'more strong' in the 'twilight of life' (14-15). MLA Works Cited Page:  MLA Works Cited Page Smith 4 Works Cited Shakespeare, William. 'Sonnet 73.' The Sonnets. New York: Barnes andamp; Noble, 2001. (73). Sidney, Sir Philip. 'Sonnet 31.' The Oxford Anthology of English Literature. Ed. Frank Kermode and John Hollander. New York: Oxford UP, 1973. (885-886). Indent ½ Inch Double-space between and within entries and title

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