A-Z: General definitions: Volta


Petrarchan sonnets are divided into an octave (8 lines), usually rhyming abba abba, and a sestet (6 lines) rhyming cde cde. The ideas in the octave change or develop in the sestet, and this change is called a volta or leap. Often the volta introduces a shift in tone as the speaker moves from uncertainty to resolution and voices a change in his or her ideas or plans. Frequently, the 6 line sestet presets an answer or a solution to the problem outlined in the 8 line octave.

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