Difference Between
versus

English Sonnet vs. Italian Sonnet: Know the Difference

Hifza Nasir
By Hifza Nasir & Shumaila Saeed || Published on April 3, 2024
English sonnets, known for their ABABCDCDEFEFGG rhyme scheme, focus on themes resolved in a final couplet, whereas Italian sonnets, with an ABBAABBACDCDCD pattern, divide into an octave and sestet, presenting a problem and solution.
English Sonnet vs. Italian Sonnet

Key Differences

The English sonnet, also known as the Shakespearean sonnet, is characterized by its structure of three quatrains followed by a final rhyming couplet, allowing for a more gradual development of the poem's theme, which is typically concluded or resolved in the final couplet. The Italian sonnet, or Petrarchan sonnet, is divided into two parts: an octave (the first eight lines) that presents a problem, situation, or emotional state, and a sestet (the last six lines) that offers a resolution, counterargument, or reflection on the octave.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Apr 03, 2024
The rhyme scheme of the English sonnet (ABABCDCDEFEFGG) offers more flexibility in rhyming and is suited to the English language's fewer rhyming endings, while the Italian sonnet's scheme (ABBAABBACDCDCD or its variations) demands closer attention to the poem's division into two contrasting yet interrelated parts.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Apr 03, 2024
English sonnets often explore love, beauty, politics, mortality, and nature, with the final couplet providing a poignant or reflective conclusion. Italian sonnets traditionally delve into the complexities of love and moral questions, with the octave and sestet structure allowing for a nuanced exploration of the theme.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Apr 03, 2024
The English sonnet is associated with William Shakespeare, who perfected the form and explored a wide range of human experiences and emotions within its structure. The Italian sonnet traces back to Petrarch, whose sonnets were dedicated to Laura, his idealized beloved, setting the standard for lyrical poetry about unrequited love and beauty.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Apr 03, 2024
Both forms have been adapted and used by poets to express a wide range of sentiments and ideas, the structural differences between them reflect distinct approaches to poetic expression, with the English sonnet lending itself to narrative resolution and the Italian sonnet to thematic contrast and reflection.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Apr 03, 2024
ADVERTISEMENT

Comparison Chart

Rhyme Scheme

ABABCDCDEFEFGG
ABBAABBACDCDCD or variations
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Apr 03, 2024

Structure

Three quatrains and a final couplet
An octave and a sestet
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Apr 03, 2024

Common Themes

Love, beauty, politics, mortality
Love, moral questions, nature
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Apr 03, 2024

Notable Practitioners

William Shakespeare
Francesco Petrarch
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Apr 03, 2024

Purpose of Structure

Gradual thematic development and resolution
Presenting a problem and offering a resolution
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Apr 03, 2024
ADVERTISEMENT

Language Suitability

Suited to English's fewer rhymes
Demands precision in rhyme and theme
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Apr 03, 2024

Origin

England
Italy
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Apr 03, 2024

English Sonnet and Italian Sonnet Definitions

English Sonnet

Features a final resolving couplet.
Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 begins with admiration and concludes with eternalizing beauty in verse.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 27, 2024

Italian Sonnet

Influenced European poetry.
Its form has been adopted and adapted by poets across Europe.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Feb 27, 2024

English Sonnet

Flexible rhyme schem.
Shakespeare's sonnets explore a variety of themes within the same structural confines.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 27, 2024
ADVERTISEMENT

Italian Sonnet

Precise rhyme scheme.
The meticulous structure mirrors the intricate nature of the themes explored.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 27, 2024

English Sonnet

Emphasizes narrative or thematic resolution.
The transition from observation to conclusion in Sonnet 130.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 27, 2024

Italian Sonnet

Presents a problem then resolves it.
Questioning and answering the nature of love's effect.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 27, 2024

English Sonnet

Popular among English poets.
Besides Shakespeare, poets like Milton and Wordsworth have utilized this form.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 27, 2024

Italian Sonnet

Divides into an octave and sestet.
Petrarch's Sonnet 190, contrasting the pains and pleasures of love.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 27, 2024

English Sonnet

Reflects on human experiences.
Love's enduring power in Sonnet 116.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Feb 27, 2024

Italian Sonnet

Explores lofty ideals and personal emotions.
The idealization of Laura and the introspection this evokes.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Feb 27, 2024

Repeatedly Asked Queries

How does the final couplet of an English sonnet function?

The final couplet often serves to summarize, conclude, or offer a twist to the poem's narrative or thematic exploration.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Apr 03, 2024

Are there modern examples of these sonnet forms?

Both forms continue to be used and adapted by contemporary poets, demonstrating the flexibility and enduring appeal of the sonnet structure.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Apr 03, 2024

What distinguishes an English sonnet from an Italian sonnet?

The main distinctions are their structures, rhyme schemes, and thematic development, with the English sonnet featuring three quatrains and a final couplet, and the Italian sonnet divided into an octave and sestet.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Apr 03, 2024

Why is the Italian sonnet also called the Petrarchan sonnet?

It's named after Francesco Petrarch, an Italian scholar and poet who popularized the form with his sonnets dedicated to Laura.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Apr 03, 2024

How do poets choose between an English and Italian sonnet form?

The choice often depends on the poet's thematic intentions, preference for a particular rhyme scheme, and the structural requirements of their poetic argument or narrative.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Apr 03, 2024

Can the themes of English and Italian sonnets overlap?

Yes, while each form has its traditional themes, both can explore a wide range of subjects including love, nature, and existential reflections.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Apr 03, 2024

Has the structure of these sonnets evolved over time?

While the basic structures have remained consistent, poets have experimented with and adapted the forms to suit modern sensibilities and languages.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Apr 03, 2024

Can a sonnet blend elements of both English and Italian forms?

Yes, hybrid forms exist that incorporate elements of both, reflecting the poet's creative exploration of the sonnet tradition.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Apr 03, 2024

What role does the volta play in sonnets?

The volta, or turn, signifies a shift in argument, perspective, or emotion, typically occurring between the octave and sestet in Italian sonnets and often near the final couplet in English sonnets.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Apr 03, 2024

How does the choice of language affect the sonnet form?

The linguistic characteristics, such as the abundance or scarcity of rhymes in a language, can influence how effectively a sonnet's rhyme scheme is executed and may affect the poet's choice of form.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Apr 03, 2024

Share this page

Link for your blog / website
HTML
Link to share via messenger
About Author
Hifza Nasir
Written by
Hifza Nasir
Shumaila Saeed
Co-written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

LTE vs. CDMALTE vs. CDMA
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 4, 2024
LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a 4G wireless communication standard with high-speed data transfer, while CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) is an older 2G/3G technology for mobile networks.
Celsius vs. KelvinCelsius vs. Kelvin
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
January 1, 2024
Celsius is a temperature scale with 0°C as water's freezing point and 100°C its boiling point, while Kelvin is an absolute scale starting at absolute zero (0 K).
Moms vs. Mom'sMoms vs. Mom’s
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 22, 2024
"Moms" is the plural form of "mom," referring to multiple mothers, while "Mom's" is the possessive form of "mom," indicating something belongs to or is related to a mother.
Japanese Eyes vs. Chinese EyesJapanese Eyes vs. Chinese Eyes
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Japanese Eyes and Chinese Eyes refer to linguistic structures in Japanese and Chinese respectively, each reflecting unique aspects of grammar and syntax.
Nike Air Force 1 LE vs. Nike Air Force 1 '07Nike Air Force 1 LE vs. Nike Air Force 1 ’07
Hifza NasirHifza Nasir
April 16, 2024
Nike Air Force 1 LE often represents limited edition releases with unique designs, while Nike Air Force 1 '07 is a modern version of the classic, maintaining the iconic style with updated materials.
Gorilla Glass vs. Panda GlassGorilla Glass vs. Panda Glass
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
January 5, 2024
Gorilla Glass is a highly durable, scratch-resistant glass used in electronic devices, while Panda Glass is a similar protective glass known for its high transparency and toughness.
Goth vs. AltGoth vs. Alt
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 5, 2024
Goth is a dark, often Victorian-influenced subculture and style, while Alt (alternative) is a broader term encompassing non-mainstream styles and attitudes.
Smart TV vs. Android TVSmart TV vs. Android TV
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
A Smart TV is an internet-connected television with a variety of apps, while an Android TV is specifically a Smart TV powered by Google's Android TV operating system.
Gorilla Glass 3 vs. Gorilla Glass 5Gorilla Glass 3 vs. Gorilla Glass 5
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
January 1, 2024
Gorilla Glass 3 offers improved scratch resistance and durability compared to its predecessors, while Gorilla Glass 5 focuses on enhanced drop protection and toughness.
2 Pole Motors vs. 4 Pole Motors2 Pole Motors vs. 4 Pole Motors
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
2 Pole Motors have one pair of magnetic poles and run at higher speeds, while 4 Pole Motors have two pairs of poles and operate at lower speeds, offering higher torque.
Benzyl Chloride vs. Benzoyl ChlorideBenzyl Chloride vs. Benzoyl Chloride
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
January 3, 2024
Benzyl Chloride is a chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbon used in organic synthesis, while Benzoyl Chloride is an acyl chloride used as a reagent in chemistry.
Payment vs. RemittancePayment vs. Remittance
Dua FatimaDua Fatima
April 9, 2024
Payment is a transfer of money for goods or services, while remittance involves sending money to a distant location, often overseas.
Manual Filing vs. E-FilingManual Filing vs. E-Filing
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
January 21, 2024
Manual Filing involves physically submitting documents, often in paper form. E-Filing is the process of submitting documents electronically, often through dedicated platforms or email.
Slavic Facial Features vs. Germanic Facial FeaturesSlavic Facial Features vs. Germanic Facial Features
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
January 31, 2024
Slavic facial features often include high cheekbones and rounder faces, while Germanic facial features typically have sharper angles and stronger jawlines.
Tap Root vs. Fibrous RootTap Root vs. Fibrous Root
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 28, 2024
Tap root is a single, thick primary root growing vertically downward, while fibrous root is a network of many thin roots spreading out near the surface.
Catapult vs. TrebuchetCatapult vs. Trebuchet
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
January 4, 2024
A catapult is a ballistic device using tension or torsion to launch projectiles, while a trebuchet is a type of catapult using a counterweight for greater force and distance.
Login vs. LogonLogin vs. Logon
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
"Login" and "Logon" are often used interchangeably to describe the process of gaining access to a computer system, but "login" can also refer to the credentials used for access.
White Collar Crime vs. Blue Collar CrimeWhite Collar Crime vs. Blue Collar Crime
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
White Collar Crime involves non-violent, financially motivated offenses often committed by professionals, while Blue Collar Crime refers to physical or violent crimes often by manual laborers.
Hard Copy vs. Soft CopyHard Copy vs. Soft Copy
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
A Hard Copy is a physical version of a document or file, usually on paper, while a Soft Copy is a digital version of the document, stored electronically.
Social Change vs. Cultural ChangeSocial Change vs. Cultural Change
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Social change refers to shifts in societal structures and institutions, impacting behaviors and relationships among people. Cultural change pertains to alterations in a group's shared beliefs, values, and customs, influencing their way of life.
Seagate Exos x16 vs. Seagate Exos x18Seagate Exos x16 vs. Seagate Exos x18
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 8, 2024
The Seagate Exos X16 offers up to 16TB storage with a focus on high-capacity data centers, while the Exos X18 upgrades to 18TB, enhancing performance and capacity for enterprise demands.
Pycharm Community vs. Pycharm ProPycharm Community vs. Pycharm Pro
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
February 4, 2024
PyCharm Community is a free, open-source IDE for Python development, while PyCharm Pro is a paid version with additional advanced features like web development support and database tools.
Inox vs. Stainless SteelInox vs. Stainless Steel
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
January 10, 2024
Inox is a synonym for stainless steel, used mainly in Europe, while stainless steel is a corrosion-resistant alloy containing chromium.
Assemble vs. BuildAssemble vs. Build
Shumaila SaeedShumaila Saeed
December 25, 2023
Assemble refers to the act of gathering and organizing pre-existing components, while build involves the creation of something new by combining various materials or elements.

Featured Comparisons

New Comparisons