Shakespearean Sonnet
Rules & Rhyme Scheme

  • Shakespearean sonnets are broken into 4 sections, called quatrains.
  • They maintain a strict rhyme scheme:
    • ABAB  //  CDCD  //  EFEF  //  GG
  • The sonnet must have 14 lines.
  • Each line has 10 syllables.
  • Each line usually rhymes using the following syllable pattern:
    • soft-LOUD-soft-LOUD-soft-LOUD-soft-LOUD-soft-LOUD
  • Sonnets often describe a problem and solution, or question and answer.
  • The transition from problem to solution (or question to answer) is called the volta (turn).

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Fun Fact
Typewriter is written using
only the top row of a keyboard.

Rhyme Schemes

  • The quatrains are usually setup as such:
    • 1st Quatrain:
      • Purpose: establishes the subject
      • # of lines: 4
      • Rhyme Pattern: ABAB
    • 2nd Quatrain:
      • Purpose: introduces theme (starts painting the picture)
      • # of lines: 4
      • Rhyme Pattern: CDCD
    • 3rd Quatrain:
      • Purpose: finalizes theme
      • # of lines: 4
      • Rhyme Pattern: EFEF
    • 4th Quatrain:
      • Purpose: final thoughts
      • # of lines: 4
      • Rhyme Pattern: GG
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