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English 1022 Lecture on Shakespeare Sonnets

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Western University
English 1022E
David Bentley

english lecture november 9, 2010 Shakespeare Sonnets On Board: Humanism Eurocentric Phallocentric Mutability Eternalize - Lyric poems aim to have one single, unified effect. - Lyric comes from Lyre (musical instrument) frequently in the Renaissance lyrics were set to music. Therefore they’re very musical and lyrical sounding - Subject matter is usually intense feelings that would accompany love, death, a wedding, etc. Sonnet - 14 Line Poem consisting of iambic pentameter, rhymed in different ways. - “Sonneto” Means a brief utterance or small statement and emerged at the time of the Renaissance in Italy - Human Reason and Human love/feelings began to occupy more of peoples interests and concern. - Feelings and thoughts became similar in weight as their beliefs and their faith - Christian Humanism: One one hand you have issues of belief and faith; human issues of feeling and thought on the other hand - Humans lost their sense of being placed here in this central place by God. This evaporated, and thus made people realize that human beings are at the center of Earth, and they are at the pinnacle of what is here on Earth. They are above the animals, below the angels. Human capacity to understand the world came to the forefront - Focus on the world and exploring the world - Focus on trying to understand the human mind and human feelings - Dante and Petrarch - Petrarchan Sonnet divided into an octave and sextet with a break in between them - Octave : ABBA ABBA - Sextet: CDC CDC, or CD CD CD - There are A, B, C and D rhymes in a Petrarchan sonnet. - Especially good for comparisons and contrasts. You can set up an idea in the octave and either contrast that in the sextet or elaborate it. - Petrarchan Conceits: An idea, primarily a simile, metaphor or analogy. Some comparison operating through 4, 6 or 8 lines of the octave. Comes from the concepto word. There has to be a concept here. - Analogies that relate human beings to objects in the natural world. - Human beings in the natural world - This form is a beautiful way of responding to that; the conceit comes the vehicle for it - What kind of comparisons? Lovers having eyes like violets. These are developed over the lines. Series of comparisons working together to make the conceit - Seasons of the year “My beloved is hot like the sun” english lecture november 9, 2010 - Objectification of the woman. She isn’t a person anymore, but someone who resembles a plant or a season or an object in the sky. Very Eurocentric way of looking at woman - If you happen to be Asian or African, violet eyes won’t work for you. So Petrarchan sonnets are heavily caucasian - Phallocentric world: world centered on the penis - Male tends to be inline with the analogies he’s developing for the woman. He could be a soldier waiting outside a town, and has a battering ram to get into the castle. - A ship at sea, languishing out there and waiting to come into port. Of course it would have a big wooden mast. - A lot of phallocentrism, the male is sexually oriented and the woman is an object of sexual desire - When you say that ‘she’s a star’ you’re unwillingly using a Petrarchan convention. - Songwriters try to use these all the time: - “MacArthur Park with the cake that’s left out of the rain - What the hell is that?” - “My heart’s cripped by...keep keep bleeding love...” “My god you better see a gynecologist!” - Elaborate conventions of describing physical bodies - Shakespeare uses the Petrarchan sonnet and he also plays with it. Sonnet 18 - Poetry has the capacity to immortalize things, people. He’s taking Petrarchan conventions, reworking them and making them more realistic. More likely to be descriptive of a real woman. - Specific form and set of subjects - Octave Sesten - Petrarchan - Why did the sonnet change when it moved from Italy to Shakespeare? - Nationalistic Chauvinistic Patriotic: The Italian mind isn’t as logical as the British mind. Flighty, tempermental people. - The Shakespearean sonnet has seperate ideas and a conclusion - perfectly logical. - But Italy has it’s fair share of logical minds (Galileo, etc.) So this doesn’t make sense. - But - Petrarchan has Few rhymes, more lines : Italian has many more words that r
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