Alright, before we begin, let’s define a few terms to help you understand.
rhyme scheme- a consistent pattern of rhyme throughout a poem
iambic pentameter- It can be described as a line consists of ten syllables, where the first syllable is stressed, the second is unstressed, the third is stressed and so on until it reaches the 10th line syllable.
Shakespearean sonnet- In poetry, a sonnet has 14 fourteen lines and is written in iambic pentameter. Each line has 10 syllables. It has a specific rhyme scheme and a “volta” or a specific turn. Shakespearean sonnets always consist of 3 quatrains and 1 couplet.
quatrain- a 4 line stanza in a poem
couplet- 2 consecutive lines of verse with end rhyme
So, Shakespearean sonnets ALWAYS have the same rhyme scheme, with the rhyming sound being at the end of each line. To mark the rhyme scheme, you give the same letter of the alphabet to each matching rhyme or similar sound. It goes like this:
First quatrain: ABAB
Second quatrain: CDCD
Third quatrain: EFEF
Additionally, the lines of a sonnet include iambic pentameter (refer to definition above). To mark for iambic pentameter, start by counting the syllables in each line as they are read aloud. It helps to clap or tap the beat. Each line of a sonnet has 10 syllables, so it includes 2 iambic pentameters.
As you can see, a Shakespearean sonnet is highly mathematical as well as poetic!