Lesson video

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Hello, everyone.

It's lovely to see you again and welcome to lesson three in this unit, introduction to sonnets, let's make a start.

All right, make sure that you have all of your equipment ready to go.

So you should have a pen, paper, and ideally the notes from the previous two lessons.

Of course your brain have that engaged, but also try to avoid any distractions.

So if you have any pop-ups or other tabs or music or videos or anything at all that might pop up on your screen and distract you, then please close those down now, pause the video and do that if you need to.

And if possible, try to be in a nice, quiet area where you won't be disturbed, so that you can focus on the lesson.

So if you cast your mind back to lesson one, you'll remember that we have actually already covered some of the facts about the history of sonnets.

And here are three bullet points that recap the information we've already covered.

And you will of course have already written this in your notes when you were completing lesson one.

Sonnets are traditionally about love, but can be about many other subjects too.

Sonnets originated in Italy in the 13th century and Petrarchan and Shakespearian sonnets have some differences in structure and rhyme scheme.

Now I'm sure you remember both of those names, particularly Shakespeare, as we did cover one of his sonnets in quite a lot of detail in lesson two, but in this lesson today, lesson three, we will be comparing the structure of the Shakespearean sonnet with the structure of the Petrarchan sonnet, and seeing what the similarities and differences are.

So let's get started.

Here is the order of today's lesson.

We will begin with looking at the history of the Petrarchan sonnet.

So this is a more detailed look at the history specifically of the Petrarchan sonnet and then returning to the Shakespearean sonnet, we will zoom in a little bit more on the history of the Shakespearean sonnet.

Then we will take a look at the similarities, followed by the differences.

And then finally, we will revisit the volta and look at where the volta occurs within the two different types of sonnet in today's lesson.

So let's begin with the history of the Petrarchan sonnet.

Here's the painting of Petrarch that we've seen in our previous lessons, a beautiful painting.

Most of Petrarch's sonnets are about his admiration of a woman named Laura, and unbelievably, he actually wrote more than 300 sonnets about Laura and how much he adored her, over a period of around 20 years.

So this was an incredible amount of work.

His life's work in fact.

Petrarch's passion for Laura is forever recorded in his Cazoniere.

Now I'm not very good at saying that, please forgive me Italians.

And this is a collection of poems, which celebrate his love for her.

And although many historians believe that Laura was actually a real person, we can't be certain for sure, but it's clear that whoever she was, real or imagined, she was unobtainable and Petrarch's love was unrequited, so sadly, she didn't actually love him back.

Petrarch's sonnets are highly personal, very intimate about his love for Laura, who is this idealised virtuous, perfect woman, the pinnacle of perfection, and the way he writes about Laura has gone on to influence many poets who have come after him and followed him for centuries in fact, and transformed the face of not only sonnets, but love poetry in general.

And Petrarch's are full of figurative language.

And this is used to create the Petrarchan conceit, which is an exaggerated comparison between the object of the poet's affection, which is Laura in Petrarch's case, and an actual object.

For example, her teeth were pearls.

So this over the top, exaggerated, hyperbolic language, this comparative language comparing Laura to another object or a part of Laura to another object to emphasise his opinions and feelings about her.

Okay, so time for our first task then.

So which two of the following statements best describe Petrarch's sonnets? Option one, Petrarch's sonnets are gritty and realistic.

Option, two Petrarch uses figurative language and exaggerated descriptions in his sonnets.

Option three, Petrarch's sonnets are about his love for an idealised woman, and option four, Petrarch's sonnets are about nature and wildlife.

So in a moment, pause the video, jot down option one, two, three, four, write down next to each one if you believe they're true or false.

And then when you're ready, unpause the video and come back to find out the answers.

Okay, pause now.

Okay, let's see if you've got your answers correct.

Hopefully you chose option two.

That Petrarch uses figurative language and exaggerated descriptions in his sonnets.

And we saw an example of that on one of the previous slides where we were comparing or sorry, Petrarch was comparing Laura's teeth to pearls, and then option three, Petrarch's sonnets are about his love for an idealised woman, Laura, as I just previously mentioned.

Now, if you've got that wrong, don't worry.

Just go back to the previous slides on the history of the Petrarchan Sonnet and look again, just revise any mistakes that you made.

And then when you're ready, come back to this slide or this point, sorry of the video and we will continue.

Okay, it's time for our next task.

So I'm going to read through this paragraph with you.

And then once I have, I would like you to pause the video, copy out the paragraph and fill in the gaps.

Now please don't be tempted just to skip through this or to just write down what you think should go in the gaps.

You should copy out the whole paragraph because copying everything out, as I've explained in previous lessons, does help it to stick in your mind.

Just reading it will not be as effective.

You will retain more information if you physically write this down.

So please do copy out the whole paragraph.

Let's read through it together first.

Petrarch's sonnets are very personal.

Petrarch wrote more than 300 sonnets about a woman named, and then you fill in the blank.

She did not love him in return.

Therefore Petrarch's love was, you fill in the blank.

The blank Petrarch's sonnets are full of something language, you fill in the gap there.

Petrarch created the Petrarchan sonnet, where he makes an exaggerated something, between a person and an object.

Now you probably know exactly what goes in these gaps, but if you're not sure, remember, you can just rewind the video a little bit and take a look at the history of, sorry, Petrarchan, nearly said Shakespearian, of the Petrarchan sonnets on that previous section of the video.

If you just rewind a little bit.

So if you're stuck, go back, have a look, if not pause, and then come back as soon as you've copied out your paragraph and we'll see if you've got the answers correct.

See you soon.

Right, time for the answers then.

Petrarch's sonnets are very personal.

Petrarch's wrote more than 300 sonnets about a woman named Laura, correct.

And I hope you got the spelling right, and don't forget the capital L as well.

Don't be lazy with your grammar and your punctuation.

She did not love him in return though.

Therefore Petrarch's love was unrequited, sad.

Petrarch's sonnets are full of what type of language? You got it, figurative language.

Petrarch created the Petrarchan conceit, where he makes an exaggerated, something, between a person and an object, begins with a C, comparison.

So well done if you've got all of those correct.

If you didn't, don't worry, correct them.

And I'm sure that eventually, they'll stick in there and you're definitely learning as you go along regardless.

So well done.

Onto the next stage of the lesson then.

Now we're going to return to the Shakespearean sonnet, which we had a more detailed look at in lesson two.

But now we're actually going to look more at the history of specifically the Shakespearean sonnet, as well as the structure that we've already begun looking at previously.

So here's our lovely painting of Shakespeare, very famous image, which I'm sure you're all familiar with.

So let's learn a little bit more about the background of specifically Shakespearian sonnets.

Shakespeare's sonnets were published in a collection or quarto, containing 154 sonnets in total.

So yeah, he wrote a lot of them and obviously, they're only the ones that were actually published.

Goodness knows how many he actually wrote.

Petrarch obviously wrote hundreds of sonnets too.

Like Petrarch, Shakespeare wrote very personal sonnets and each sonnet is dedicated to one person.

But unlike Petrarch, who wrote specifically about Laura, Shakespeare actually writes about more than one person.

So the first 126 sonnets, so the largest chunk of them, are addressed to a young man and the rest are about a woman.

And again, many people believe that these were real people, but as previously said with Laura, we can't be certain for sure if these people really were real.

Now, unlike Petrarch's sonnets, Shakespeare's sonnets are not idealised depictions of love.

They're not about pure perfection and angelic beauty in the way that the sonnets about Laura are.

They cover much more realistic topics such as lust, and infidelity and jealousy.

So much more challenging topics arguably, than Petrarch's.

For example, in sonnet 130, that we took a look at in lesson two, Shakespeare describes his lover as unattractive.

If you cast your mind back, one of the lines from that particular sonnet is, if snow be white, why then her breasts are done, not being very nice there about his lover.

This is obviously the opposite of Petrarch's conceit.

And Shakespeare seems to suggest that perhaps the overly dramatic descriptions of love that we see in Petrarchan sonnets aren't really necessary and they don't depict the reality of love and the more realistic side of things.

Obviously, there's no right or wrong here.

It's just a difference in style.

And it's an interesting difference to note down and to pay attention to when you are comparing the two different writers.

On to our next task then.

So which two of the following statements best describes Shakespeare's sonnets this time around? Option one, Shakespeare sonnets are honest and realistic.

Option two, Shakespeare uses a Petrarchan conceit in his sonnets.

Option three, most of Shakespeare's sonnets are addressed to a young man and the rest are about women.

The option four, Shakespeare's sonnets are about a woman named Laura.

Pause the video, jot down option one, two, three, four, and whether or not you think each one is true or false.

And when you're ready, come back to the video and find out if you've got the answers correct.

So time to pause now.

Did you get them right, let's find out.

So I'm hoping you chose option one, that Shakespeare sonnets are honest and realistic in quite a big contrasting way to the style and the content of Petrarch's sonnets.

And also option number three, that most of Shakespeare's sonnets are addressed to a young man and the rest are about a women.

And just as I said previously in the video, if you've made mistakes here and you're confused about why you've made those mistakes, go back, take a look again, read the information again, and then rejoin me at this point of the video before continuing with the rest of the lesson.

Okay, our next task then, and again, and it's a copy and complete paragraph.

And as I've already said earlier in the video, don't you try and rush through and skip the whole task.

Please copy out the whole paragraph and fill in the gaps, not just the gap words by themselves.

And with this particular one, it's a little bit different to the previous paragraph, in as much as you may possibly choose ever so slightly different words to what I will suggest when I show you the suggested answers on the next screen, as long as you mean the same thing, then it's okay if your choices of words very slightly.

All right, before you go then, before you pause, let's read through the paragraph together.

Like Petrarch, Shakespeare also wrote very something sonnets.

The first 126 of Shakespeare's sonnets are addressed to a young something or somebody and the rest are about a somebody else.

Shakespeare's sonnets cover much more something topics than Petrarchan idealised versions.

And Shakespeare's sonnets suggest the overly something descriptions of love are unnecessary.

All right, pause the video, copy our your paragraph, fill in the gaps.

Come back when you're ready.

Let's check your answers then.

So like Petrarch, Shakespeare also wrote very personal sonnets.

The first 126 of Shakespeare's sonnets are addressed to a young man.

And the rest are about a woman.

Shakespeare's sonnets cover much more realistic topics than Petrarchan sonnets, idealised versions, and Shakespeare's sonnets suggests that overly dramatic descriptions of love are unnecessary.

And as I said previously, before we started this task, if for any reason, you've got ever so slightly different word choices, but they mean the same thing, then that's completely acceptable.

If you've made a huge mistake and got it all wrong and something has gone wrong in here, don't worry, just go back, have a look at the notes in the previous section of the video and then correct yours and return when you're ready.

Now that we've looked at the history of both Petrarchan and Shakespearian sonnets, it's time to have a look at the two side by side, the actual structure and the form of the sonnets, and how they differ and how they are similar.

Now, if you recall in lesson two, we went into quite a lot of detail about the structure of a Shakespearian sonnet and the layout and the line numbers, et cetera.

And we're going to revisit that briefly before then having a look and comparing that to the way that the Petrarchan sonnet is laid out.

So let's go back to the Shakespearean sonnet, first of all.

So hopefully this looks familiar to you.

This is sonnet 130 that we looked at in lesson two.

And if you recall, there are 14 lines.

There's always 14 lines.

There is a rhyme scheme of AB, AB, CD, CD, EF, EF, and then G, G bottom there for line 13 and 14.

And remember, these lines are divided up into three stanzas or four lines each, which are called quatrains.

And then the rhyming couplets at the bottom there, where the two end words of there, of each line line 13 and 14 rhyme.

And then the volta occurs between line 12 and 13 in a Shakespearian sonnet.

And just in case you've forgotten what the volta is, that's where there is a change in tone or mood or something within the sonnet itself.

Often it will be where the resolution to the issue that's laid out in the first half of the sonnet, or the first section of the sonnet, sorry, lines one to 12, that will be laid out across that part of the sonnet.

And then at the end and the rhyming couplet after the volta, there's that change or that response, or that answer to the previous section of the sonnet.

So that's our Shakespearian sonnet recap.

So now let's take a look at the Petrarchan sonnet, and see what the similarities and also what the differences are between the two.

Okay, so looking at the Petrarchan sonnet, now, the similarity I'm hoping is glaringly obvious to you, which is that like the Shakespearean sonnet, this on it still has 14 lines, but that is where the similarities to some degree end, because there is quite a difference in the rhyme scheme, hopefully you can see that already.

So if we look at the rhyme scheme, we have A BB A, followed by CDE, CDE.

Now we can actually divide this up into sections just as we could with the Shakespearian sonnet, but they have slightly different names.

So those first eight lines there, rather than being divided into quatrains, we actually take them as one lump of eight and think of a word that means eight, think of I'm an eight sided shape and you'll think of an octagon.

And similarly, we have an octave here.

So the octave, of the first eight lines of the Petrarchan sonnet always have the rhyme scheme, ABBA, ABBA an easy way to remember is obviously they're famous pop band from the sixties and seventies, ABBA, that's a good way to remember it.

Then it CDE CDE at the bottom.

Well, that's six lines this time, isn't it? Line nine to 14.

And so that means this is called a sestet, six lines.

There is something that we just need to mention about the sestet though, because unlike a Shakespearean sonnet, where the rhyme scheme is always exactly the same and unlike the octane in the Petrarchan sonnet, where the rhyme scheme is also always the same, the sestet tech can vary.

And just to give you an example, here's some other rhyme schemes that occur in the sestet of Petrarchan sonnets.

And to be honest, there's even more than this.

So the one we're looking at happens to have that first one on the left side, CDE, CDE, but it is possible for the sestet to vary greatly.

And for that rhyme scheme to be different, so that you can't guarantee exactly what pattern it will have.

And if you have a Petrarchan sonnet in front of you, you just have to have a look.

And as we learned how to label rhyme schemes in the previous lesson in lesson two, I know you're a pro at this any way, you'd be able to figure that out.

Okay, so back to our sestet, and then that leads us finally with the volta.

And I hope that you have noticed that the volta is in different place this time.

It occurs much earlier in the Petrarch sonnet than it does in the Shakespearian sonnet.

And it's occurs between line eight and nine.

So let's actually have a look at the poem as a whole, shall we, and see why the Volta occurs.

What happens in the first eight lines, which is then responded to in the final six lines? When love doth those sweet eyes to earth incline and weaves those wandering notes into a sigh, with his own touch and leads a minstrelsy clear voiced and pure angelic and divine.

He makes sweet havoc in this heart of mine.

And to my thoughts brings transformation high.

So that I say, my time has come to die.

If fate be blessed, so blessed a death for me design.

So those first eight lines are the classic Petrarchan style where he is praising this angelic, wonderful creature, which we know is Laura.

And describing how the love he has for her is so overwhelming that he would happily die at this moment because he's so truly happy.

Then let's look at the sestet, but to my soul, thus steeped in joy, the sound brings such a wish to keep that present heaven.

It holds my spirit back to earth as well.

And thus I live and thus is loosed and wound the thread of life, which unto me was given by this soul siren who with us dothed well.

So he decides not to float off up to heaven after all.

And he decides to stay firmly here on the ground, still enjoying what he sees as this wondrous woman though.

Although, as we know, it was unrequited.

So for Petrarch, sorry, this is wishful thinking unfortunately, but let's not focus on that.

Let's try and look at the positive side of things.

And here we are with our final task before you move on to doing today's quiz.

So I would like you to create this table and then fill in the gaps.

And I promise we have covered everything that you need to fill in on this table, in this lesson.

And in the previous two lessons, you can use the previous slides and go back a little bit in the video if you need to, to remind yourself of anything that's missing, but hopefully you can remember all of this now anyway.

So pause the video, fill in the gaps.

And then when you're ready, come back and we'll check that you've got everything correct.

Let's go through your answers then.

So we have the Shakespeare in sonnet and the Petrarchan sonnet.

So they both have 14 lines, we know that's always the same.

Then we have the AB AB, CD, CD, EF, EF, GG rhyme scheme the Shakespearian sonnets, and for the particular Petrarchan sonnet that we looked at, you should have filled in ABBA, ABBA, so ABBA, ABBA, and then CDE, CDE, this particular sonnet.

As we know, the sestet can vary.

But for this one, that was the rhyme scheme.

Then in that gap to the left of the octave, you should have that there are three quatrains.

I think that's perhaps the hardest one to remember, as that was kind of in the previous lesson, although we have covered it today.

So if you found that one a bit more challenging, don't worry, as long as you figured it out eventually.

Then in the Shakespearian sonnet at the end, we have the rhyming couplet and then the Petrarchan sonnet has the sestet instead, no couplets.

And then the Volta in the Shakespearian sonnet, because between lines 12 and 13, whereas in the Petrarchan sonnet, it's between lines eight and nine.

If you need to pause the video again to fill in any gaps that you didn't manage to get the right answer to, or if you're unsure about, or if you made a mistake, then fine, just pause it, fill that in, make sure that you keep this table from now onwards, so that you can use it for your other sonnet lessons as a point of reference, okay.

Okay, everybody well done.

Lots of information in today's lesson, and I hope that the differences and the similarities between the Shakespearian and the Petrarchan sonnet is now clearly and firmly solidified in your mind.

And obviously they're not the only sonnet writers.

So do take some time to have a look at other sonnets by other authors, and you will do so in fact, if you complete some of the other sonnet units that are available online, now it's time for our quiz.

So it's been great to see you again, have a lovely rest of the day, enjoy your quiz, and I'll see you again soon, bye-bye.