What is the Structure of an Italian Sonnet?

Updated: January 23, 2023
The structure of an Italian sonnet is typically an octave (8 lines) followed by a sestet (6 lines), for a total of 14 rhyming lines.
Detailed answer:

There are three main types of sonnets: Italian, English, and French. Italian sonnets consist of an octave (eight lines), a sestet (six lines), and a couplet (two lines). It typically consists of 14 lines of iambic pentameter, which is a poetic meter that includes five feet, or beats, of two syllables each.

The first 12 lines are divided into two sections — quatrains. The final two lines are known as the couplet. The rhyme scheme is typically abbaabba, with the first eight lines following this pattern and the final six lines being in iambic pentameter.

The first line of each quatrain typically introduces the subject matter, while the second line provides an example or definition of that subject matter. For example:

Quatrain 1: The first line introduces a subject matter and provides an example (or definition) of it

Quatrain 2: The second line provides another example (or definition) of the same subject matter

Quatrain 3: The third line reverts back to the first line’s introduction or repeats its meaning

Quatrain 4: The fourth line completes the thought or idea introduced in quatrain one.

By the way, the sonnet was popularized by Italian poets such as Dante Alighieri and Petrarch and has been adapted by many English poets over the years, including Shakespeare.

What is the Structure of an Italian Sonnet?. (2023, Jan 23). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/qa/what-is-the-structure-of-an-italian-sonnet/