Comparison of John Keats' 'on the Sonnet' and William Shakespeare's Sonnet 116

Topics: Poetry, Sonnet, Iambic pentameter Pages: 3 (904 words) Published: October 11, 2012
Poems used:
John Keats' 'On the Sonnet' 1848
If by dull rhymes our English must be chained, 
And, like Andromeda, the Sonnet sweet 
Fettered, in spite of painéd loveliness; 
Let us find out, if we must be constrained, 
Sandals more interwoven and complete 
To fit the naked foot of poesy; 
Let us inspect the lyre, and weigh the stress 
Of every chord, and see what may be gained 
By ear industrious, and attention meet; 
Misers of sound and syllable, no less 
Than Midas of his coinage, let us be 
Jealous of dead leaves in the bay-wreath crown; 
So, if we may not let the Muse be free, 
She will be bound with garlands of her own

William Shakespeare's Sonnet 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark 
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 
Within his bending sickle's compass come: 
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, 
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.|

John Keats On the Sonnet and William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 take different approaches to delivering a message to their audience. Keats uses an imitative rhyme scheme (rhyme imitating intention) to discuss the challenges and restrictions of the sonnet whereas Shakespeare sticks religiously to traditional form to discuss his view on true love. Both poems effectively convey meaning through a 14 line, iambic pentameter sonnet; however the devices and tone of each vary.

Keats employs many techniques which help convey his contention to us. Put simply, the intent of Keats poem On the Sonnet is to challenge the traditional form of the sonnet; I do not believe, however, that Keats despises the Sonnet...
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