What Are the Characteristics of a Sonnet?


Quick Answer

A sonnet is poem written in 14 lines. These lines can be broken down into four quatrains. Sonnets are also written in iambic pentameter, a language scheme that has 10 beats per line with each line having alternating stressed and unstressed syllables.

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What Are the Characteristics of a Sonnet?
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Full Answer

The first three quatrains features four lines each that rhyme in an alternating manner. The fourth quatrain has two lines that both rhyme. A sonnet may also have a very rigid rhyming scheme that is present throughout the work where every other word in a line rhymes. For example, Shakespeare's sonnets have an ABAB / CDCD / EFEF / GG rhyming scheme.

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