top of page

TEAM “HEARTBREAK”

Public·13 members
Michael Lukin
Michael Lukin

Petrarch Sonnet 90: An Example of Italian Sonnet Form and Literary Devices


What Does Petrarch Sonnet 90 Mean?




A sonnet is a type of poem that consists of 14 lines, usually written in iambic pentameter (a rhythm of five stressed and unstressed syllables). There are two main types of sonnets: the Italian (or Petrarchan) sonnet and the English (or Shakespearean) sonnet. The Italian sonnet has an octave (eight lines) followed by a sestet (six lines), with a rhyme scheme of ABBAABBA CDECDE. The English sonnet has three quatrains (four lines) followed by a couplet (two lines), with a rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG.




What Does Petrarch Sonnet 90 Mean



Petrarch was an Italian poet, scholar, and humanist who lived from 1304 to 1374. He is considered one of the most influential figures in the history of literature and culture, as he initiated the Renaissance movement that revived classical learning and values. He is best known for his collection of poems called Canzoniere (Songbook), which consists of 366 poems, mostly sonnets, that express his love for a woman named Laura.


Petrarch's sonnets are about his unrequited love for Laura, whom he met in Avignon in 1327. He was immediately struck by her beauty and grace, but she was married to another man and remained indifferent to his advances. Petrarch continued to love her from afar, even after her death in 1348. His sonnets explore his feelings and emotions, as well as his philosophical and moral reflections on love, life, death, nature, art, etc.


Petrarch sonnet 90 is one of his most famous and popular poems. It describes how he fell in love with Laura at first sight, and how he suffered from her indifference and rejection. It also shows his admiration for her beauty and his frustration with his own passion. In this article, we will analyze and interpret Petrarch sonnet 90 in detail, explaining its structure, form, theme, tone, imagery, metaphors, contrast, paradox, historical context, literary context, and meaning.


The Structure and Form of Petrarch Sonnet 90




The sestet resolves the speaker's situation and problem: he realizes that he can never have enough of her to ease his burning heart, and that they are too different to be together. The sestet also has a turn (or volta) in line 9, where the speaker shifts from describing Laura's actions to expressing his own feelings. The sestet also has a rhyme scheme of CDECDE, which creates a sense of variation and closure. The Theme and Tone of Petrarch Sonnet 90




Petrarch sonnet 90 expresses the theme of unrequited love and the tone of despair and frustration. The speaker loves Laura with all his heart, but she does not reciprocate his feelings or even acknowledge his existence. He is trapped in a cycle of hope and disappointment, as he longs for her attention but she always disappears. He suffers from a burning ardor that cannot be quenched by her coldness and silence. He also realizes that they are incompatible, as he is fire and she is stone. He blames himself for being a fool who loved silence all along.


The Imagery and Metaphors of Petrarch Sonnet 90




Petrarch sonnet 90 uses imagery and metaphors to convey the speaker's feelings and emotions. The most prominent images are those of Laura's golden hair and lovely eyes, which captivate the speaker and draw him into her snare. Her hair is compared to a sweet trap that caught him unaware, and her eyes are said to have more than mortal power. These images suggest that Laura's beauty is irresistible and enchanting, but also dangerous and deceptive. The speaker also uses the image of the wind to show his admiration and envy for the natural element that can toy with Laura's hair and touch her face, while he cannot.


The speaker also uses metaphors to describe himself and Laura. He compares himself to fire and her to stone, implying that he is passionate and warm, while she is cold and hard. He also compares himself to a fool who loved silence, implying that he was naive and blind to her indifference. These metaphors highlight the contrast and paradox of their relationship, as well as the speaker's self-criticism and regret.


The Contrast and Paradox of Petrarch Sonnet 90




Petrarch sonnet 90 uses contrast and paradox to highlight the speaker's dilemma and conflict. The most obvious contrast is between the speaker and Laura, who are opposites in every way: he is fire, she is stone; he is burning, she is freezing; he is vocal, she is silent; he is hopeful, she is indifferent; he is present, she is absent. These contrasts emphasize their incompatibility and distance, as well as the speaker's frustration and pain.


The sonnet also contains several paradoxes, which are statements that seem contradictory but reveal a deeper truth. For example, the speaker says that he never had enough of her to ease his burning heart, which implies that he wants more of her but also less of her. He also says that bitter knowledge keeps them apart, which implies that he knows the truth but also wishes he didn't. He also says that he loved silence all along, which implies that he accepted her rejection but also hoped for her acceptance. These paradoxes show the speaker's confusion and contradiction, as well as his resignation and acceptance.


The Historical and Literary Context of Petrarch Sonnet 90




Cicero, etc. He also inspired the Renaissance movement that fostered artistic, scientific, and literary innovations. The Biography and Influence of Petrarch




Petrarch was born in Arezzo, Tuscany, in 1304. His father was a lawyer who was exiled from Florence for supporting the White Guelphs, a political faction that opposed the Black Guelphs and their leader, Pope Boniface VIII. Petrarch followed his father to various cities in Italy and France, where he received a classical education. He studied law at the University of Montpellier and the University of Bologna, but he disliked it and preferred poetry and literature. He became a cleric and received several benefices from the Church, which allowed him to travel and pursue his interests.


Petrarch is considered the father of humanism and the founder of the Renaissance. He was the first to coin the term "Dark Ages" to describe the period between the fall of the Roman Empire and his own time. He advocated for a return to the classical sources of knowledge and wisdom, and he collected and copied many ancient manuscripts. He also wrote in both Latin and Italian, and he contributed to the development of the Italian language and literature. He wrote various works on history, philosophy, theology, politics, etc., such as Africa, De viris illustribus, Secretum, De vita solitaria, etc.


The Life and Love of Laura




Laura was the woman who inspired Petrarch's sonnets. She was a married noblewoman who lived in Avignon, France, where the papal court was located at that time. Petrarch met her on April 6, 1327, in the Church of Sainte-Claire. He was immediately struck by her beauty and grace, especially by her golden hair and lovely eyes. He fell in love with her at first sight, but he never spoke to her or revealed his feelings. He only admired her from afar, and wrote poems about her.


Laura was the idealized object of Petrarch's love. She represented his spiritual and moral aspiration, as well as his earthly and sensual desire. She was also his source of joy and sorrow, as he experienced various emotions in relation to her. She was always distant and indifferent to him, but he never gave up hope that she might notice him or love him back. He continued to love her even after her death in 1348, which he learned from a friend. He believed that she was in heaven, and that he might join her there someday.


The Legacy and Impact of Petrarch




Petrarch's sonnets influenced many other poets and writers, both in Italy and abroad. His sonnets were widely circulated and imitated, as they established a new model of lyrical poetry that expressed personal feelings and emotions in a refined and elegant language. His sonnets also introduced new themes and motifs that became common in later literature, such as unrequited love, idealized beauty, nature imagery, contrast between fire and ice, etc.


William Shakespeare, John Donne, etc. They adapted and modified Petrarch's sonnet form, rhyme scheme, language, and themes to suit their own purposes and contexts. They also created their own versions of Laura, such as Beatrice, Rosalind, Stella, etc., who became the muses and models of their poetry. The Analysis and Interpretation of Petrarch Sonnet 90




Petrarch sonnet 90 is one of the most famous and popular poems in the Canzoniere. It is also one of the most representative and emblematic of Petrarch's style and theme. It captures the essence of his love for Laura, as well as his suffering and frustration. In this section, we will analyze and interpret Petrarch sonnet 90 line by line, explaining its meaning, significance, and implications.


The Octave: Lines 1-8




The octave sets up the speaker's situation and problem: he fell in love with Laura's golden hair and lovely eyes, but she never noticed him or spoke to him. He also describes how she used to let her hair fly free for the wind to toy with, and how she would disappear if she sensed that he might see her again.


Line 1: "She used to let her golden hair fly free"




The first line introduces the speaker's beloved and her beauty. The word "she" refers to Laura, who is the subject and object of the speaker's love. The phrase "used to" implies that the speaker is recalling a past memory, when he first saw her and fell in love with her. The word "let" implies that Laura was not aware or concerned about her appearance or its effect on others. The adjective "golden" suggests that her hair was bright and precious, like gold. The verb "fly" implies that her hair was loose and flowing, like a bird or a flag. The adverb "free" implies that her hair was not bound or restrained by any accessory or convention.


Line 2: "For the wind to toy with as it pleased"




Line 3: "Like a sweet trap that caught me unaware"




The third line reveals the speaker's attraction and entrapment by Laura's hair. The word "like" introduces a simile, which is a comparison using "like" or "as". The noun "trap" implies that Laura's hair was a device or a scheme that lured and captured him. The adjective "sweet" implies that Laura's hair was pleasant and appealing, but also deceptive and harmful. The verb "caught" implies that the speaker was surprised and trapped by Laura's hair, without any chance of escape. The adverb "unaware" implies that the speaker was ignorant and innocent, and did not expect or foresee the consequences of his attraction.


Line 4: "When first I found myself caught in her snare"




The fourth line confirms the speaker's captivity and helplessness by Laura's love. The word "when" introduces a temporal clause, which indicates when something happened. The adverb "first" implies that this was the beginning of the speaker's love for Laura, and also the beginning of his suffering. The verb "found" implies that the speaker discovered or realized his situation, but also that he was lost or confused. The pronoun "myself" implies that the speaker was alone and isolated, and also that he was aware and responsible. The adjective "caught" repeats the verb from the previous line, reinforcing the idea of entrapment. The noun "snare" is a synonym for trap, implying that Laura's love was a net or a noose that ensnared him.


Line 5: "Her lovely eyes had more than mortal power"




The fifth line praises Laura's eyes and their supernatural effect. The adjective "lovely" implies that Laura's eyes were beautiful and attractive, but also kind and gentle. The noun "eyes" refers to another feature of Laura's face, which also captivated the speaker. The verb "had" implies that Laura's eyes possessed or displayed a certain quality or ability. The adverb "more" implies that Laura's eyes exceeded or surpassed the normal or expected level or degree. The adjective "mortal" implies that Laura's eyes were not human or natural, but divine or magical. The noun "power" implies that Laura's eyes had a force or an influence that could affect or change things.


Line 6: "And often made me turn my gaze away"




The sixth line shows the speaker's fear and awe for Laura's eyes. The conjunction "and" connects this line with the previous one, indicating a causal relationship between them. The adverb "often" implies that this happened frequently or repeatedly, showing the speaker's persistence and struggle. The verb "made" implies that Laura's eyes compelled or forced him to do something against his will or desire. The pronoun "me" refers to the speaker, who is the object of Laura's eyes' power. The verb "turn" implies that the speaker moved or changed his direction or position, showing his avoidance or resistance. The noun "gaze" refers to the speaker's look or stare, which expressed his interest or curiosity. The adverb "away" implies that the speaker looked elsewhere or in another direction, showing his fear or respect.


Line 7: "And if she ever sensed that in an hour"




"ever" implies that this was a rare or unlikely occurrence, showing the speaker's desperation and uncertainty. The noun "hour" refers to a short or limited period of time, showing the speaker's impatience and urgency.


Line 8: "I might see her again, she'd disappear"




The eighth line dashes the speaker's hope and reveals Laura's indifference. The pronoun "I" refers to the speaker, who is the subject of the main clause. The modal verb "might" implies that the speaker had a possibility or a chance of seeing Laura again, showing his wish or expectation. The verb "see" implies that the speaker wanted to look at or meet Laura again, showing his attraction or affection. The adverb "again" implies that the speaker had seen Laura before, but not enough, showing his dissatisfaction or desire. The pronoun "she" refers to Laura, who is the subject of the subordinate clause. The verb "disappear" implies that Laura vanished or went away, showing her avoidance or rejection.


The Sestet: Lines 9-14




The sestet resolves the speaker's situation and problem: he realizes that he can never have enough of her to ease his burning heart, and that they are too different to be together. He also expresses his suffering and passion, as well as his awareness and acceptance of their separation. The sestet also has a turn (or volta) in line 9, where the speaker shifts from describing Laura's actions to expressing his own feelings. The sestet also has a rhyme scheme of CDECDE, which creates a sense of variation and closure.


Line 9: "So that I never had enough of her"




The ninth line expresses the speaker's dissatisfaction and desire for more of Laura. The conjunction "so" introduces a result clause, which indicates the consequence or effect of the previous clause. The pronoun "I" refers to the speaker, who is the subject of this clause. The adverb "never" implies that this was a constant or absolute situation, showing the speaker's impossibility or failure. The verb "had" implies that the speaker possessed or enjoyed something, either physically or emotionally. The noun "enough" implies that the speaker had a sufficient or adequate amount of something, either in quantity or quality. The pronoun "her" refers to Laura, who is the object of this clause.


Line 10: "To ease the burning ardor in my heart"




The tenth line describes the speaker's suffering and passion for Laura. The infinitive "to ease" introduces a purpose clause, which indicates the goal or intention of the previous clause. The verb "ease" implies that the speaker wanted to reduce or relieve something, either by removing or diminishing it. The adjective "burning" implies that something was on fire or very hot, either literally or figuratively. The noun "ardor" refers to a strong or intense feeling or emotion, such as love or desire. The preposition "in" introduces a location phrase, which indicates where something was situated or contained. The noun "heart" refers to a vital organ in the body, but also to a symbol of love and emotion.


Line 11: "And bitter knowledge keeps us two apart"




"two" implies that the speaker and Laura were separate or distinct individuals, rather than a couple or a unit. The adverb "apart" implies that the speaker and Laura were distant or different from each other, either in space or in nature.


Line 12: "That one is fire, the other flinty stone"




The twelfth line compares the speaker and Laura to fire and stone, respectively. The conjunction "that" introduces a subordinate clause, which explains or specifies the previous clause. The pronoun "one" refers to the speaker, who is the subject of this clause. The verb "is" implies that the speaker identified or equated himself with something, either literally or metaphorically. The noun "fire" refers to a natural phenomenon that produces heat and light, but also to a symbol of passion and energy. The conjunction "the other" refers to Laura, who is the subject of the next clause. The adjective "flinty" implies that Laura was hard or tough, either in texture or in character. The noun "stone" refers to a solid mineral substance, but also to a symbol of coldness and indifference.


Line 13: "She never spoke a single loving word"




The thirteenth line laments Laura's silence and coldness. The pronoun "she" refers to Laura, who is the subject of this line. The adverb "never" implies that this was a constant or absolute situation, showing Laura's impossibility or failure. The verb "spoke" implies that Laura uttered or expressed something, either verbally or nonverbally. The adjective "single" implies that Laura did not say even one thing, showing her scarcity or lack. The adjective "loving" implies that something was affectionate or kind, either in meaning or in tone. The noun "word" refers to a unit of language that conveys a concept or an idea.


Line 14: "And I, poor fool, loved silence all along"




The fourteenth line reveals the speaker's folly and devotion to Laura's silence. The conjunction "and" connects this line with the previous one, indicating a contrast between them. The pronoun "I" refers to the speaker, who is the subject of this line. The adjective "poor" implies that the speaker was unfortunate or pitiful, either in wealth or in condition. The noun "fool" implies that the speaker was stupid or ignorant, either in intelligence or in judgment. The verb "loved" implies that the speaker felt or showed a strong or intense feeling or emotion for something, such as love or desire. The noun "silence" refers to the absence of sound or speech, but also to a symbol of indifference and rejection. The adverb "all along" implies that this was true or consistent from the beginning to the end, showing the speaker's constancy or persistence.


The Conclusion and FAQs of Petrarch Sonnet 90




In conclusion, Petrarch sonnet 90 is a poem that expresses the speaker's unrequited love for Laura and his suffering and frustration. It also shows his admiration for her beauty and his awareness and acceptance of their separation. It follows the Italian sonnet form, with an octave and a sestet, and uses various literary devices, such as imagery, metaphors, contrast, paradox, etc., to convey its meaning and significance. It also reflects the historical and literary context of the 14th century Italy, and how it influenced other poets and writers.


Here are some FAQs about Petrarch sonnet 90:


Q: What is Petrarch sonnet 90 about?<strong


About

Welcome to the group! You can connect with other members, ge...

Members

bottom of page