Sonnet 138 And Mary Wroth's

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Discuss the ways in which Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnet 138’ and Mary Wroth’s ‘In this strange labyrinth how shall I turn’ engage with the sonnet form. To what extent do they challenge or conform to conventions of the genre? In its simplest terms a sonnet is ‘A poem of fourteen lines using any of a number of formal rhyme schemes, in English typically having ten syllables per line.’ It is clear, William Shakespeare’s ‘Sonnet 138’ and Mary Wroth’s ‘In this strange labyrinth how shall I turn’ easily fit these criteria, earning them the infamous title, sonnet. Unfortunately, this dictionary definition, only considers structure, merely scratching the surface of sonnet conventions and the expectations the literary world holds for these poems. There is far more anticipated when a poem is named “a sonnet” beyond fourteen rhyming lines of iambic pentameter. There is an expectation of certain traditions and conventions, and a question of stylistic choices. In the realm of English poetry there are two key styles of sonnet: the Italian sonnet, and the English sonnet. The Italian was the form in which the sonnet rose to fruition in the reformation and restoration era. The English sonnet developed from this new…show more content…
Often they would ‘praise [the] sonneteers mistress as the earthly manifestation of heavenly virtue’ elevating the beloved subject of the poem above all others. Courtly love first arose from the middle ages, and made its way into the traditions of literature. A courtly lover was traditionally a man who ‘existed to serve his lady’, his beloved, a married woman was, more often than not, unattainable. Though it is the woman who is elevated above all and placed upon a pedestal, it is the lover who is regarded as the hero of the piece, and often he is depicted as the victim of love and of his

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