iambic_pentameter_in_Hamlet - From Hamlet O that this too too solid flesh would melt Thaw and resolve itself into a dew Or that the Everlasting had not

iambic_pentameter_in_Hamlet - From Hamlet O that this too...

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From Hamlet : O that this too too solid flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d His canon ’gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God! ( Act 1, Scene 2 ) What is Iambic Pentameter? Iambic Pentameter has: Ten syllables in each line Five pairs of alternating unstressed and stressed syllables The rhythm in each line sounds like: ba- BUM / ba- BUM / ba- BUM / ba- BUM / ba- BUM Most of Shakespeare’s famous quotations fit into this rhythm. For example: If mu- / -sic be / the food / of love , / play on Is this / a dag- / -ger I / see be- / fore me? Each pair of syllables is called an iambus. You’ll notice that each iambus is made up of one unstressed and one stressed beat (ba- BUM ). Rhythmic Variations In his plays, Shakespeare didn’t always stick to ten syllables. He often played around with iambic pentameter to give color and feeling to his character’s speeches. This is the key to understanding Shakespeare's language. . Feminine Ending Sometimes Shakespeare added an extra unstressed beat at the end of a line to emphasize a character’s sense of contemplation. This variation is called a feminine ending and Hamlet’s famous question is the perfect example: To be , / or not / to be: / that is / the ques- / -tion Inversion Shakespeare also reverses the order of the stresses in some iambi to help emphasize certain words or ideas. If you look closely at the fourth iambus in the Hamlet quote above, you can see how he has placed an emphasis on the word “that” by inverting the stresses.
Occasionally, Shakespeare will completely break the rules and place two stressed syllables in the same iambus, as the following quote from Richard III demonstrates: Now is / the win- / -ter of / our dis- / con tent In this example, the fourth iambus emphasizes that it is “our discontent,” and the first iambus emphasizes that we are feeling this “now.” Iambic pentameter From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Iambic pentameter (from Greek : αμβικός πεντάμετρος, iambikos pentametros , meaning a measure with five iambs ) is a commonly used type of metrical line in traditional verse and verse drama . The term describes the rhythm that the words establish in that line, which is measured in small groups of syllables called " feet ". The word "iambic" describes the type of foot that is used (in English, an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable). The word "pentameter" indicates that a line has five of these "feet". These terms originally applied to the quantitative meter of classical poetry. They were adopted to describe the equivalent meters in English accentual-syllabic verse . Different languages express rhythm in different ways. In Ancient Greek and Latin , the rhythm was created through the alternation of short and long syllables. In English , the rhythm is created through the use of stress , alternating between unstressed and stressed syllables.

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