iambic pentameter blank verse quick facts

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iambic pentameter, foot, feet, meter, rhythm, Shakespeare, blank verse - study notes, quick reference guide - What is iambic pentameter? What is blank verse? Quick facts.  Iambic Pentameter  study notes An iamb is one of the -- weak STRONG -- units used to build a line of iambic pentameter. Penta means five (as in the Pentagon, a building which happens to have five sides) and iambic pentameter is a line of verse which has 5 x iambs.

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study notes iambic pentameter

related pages:-

Sonnet analysis Spenser sonnet 75 and Shakespeare sonnet 19 compared and contrasted.

iambic pentameter sample - iambic pentameter sample (prose to blank verse)

a modern sonnet - sonnet form exercise in less-than-perfect iambic pentameter




What is blank verse?


blank verse: verse which satisfies BOTH condition (i) and condition (ii):-

Condition (i): it does not rhyme. It if rhymes, it's not blank verse.
Condition (ii): All the lines have the same number of feet.

Is blank verse iambic pentameter?


Blank verse may be in the form of iambic pentameter, and usually is. However, blank verse does not have to be iambic pentameter. Other metrical patterns are possible.

Does Shakespeare use blank verse?


In the plays, often, but not always. Remember that if the verse rhymes then it is not blank verse. Shakespeare's sonnets have rhyme schemes so they are not blank verse.

What is iambic pentameter?

A line of iambic pentameter is a line of poetry which follows this pattern of weak and strong stresses:-

weak STRONG weak STRONG weak STRONG weak STRONG weak STRONG


It breaks into five feet, like this:-

weak STRONG / weak STRONG / weak STRONG / weak STRONG / weak STRONG


What is an iamb?

An iamb is one of the "weak STRONG" units used to build a line of iambic pentameter. "Penta" means five (as in "the Pentagon," a building which happens to have five sides) and iambic pentameter is a line of verse which has 5 x iambs.

What is a foot?

A foot is one of the repeating segments that is used to build a line of poetry. In the case of iambic pentameter, one iamb = one foot.

One line of iambic pentameter has five feet. Each of these five feet is an iamb.

What is meter?

Meter is the pattern of a line of verse (for example, iambic pentameter). If the rhythm of each line of a piece of verse is iambic pentameter then we can say that the metrical pattern of that piece of verse is iambic pentameter.


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Comments by Hugh Cook, 2003 ... These study notes date from 1995, at which time I was at the University of Auckland studying a course in "Shakespeare on Screen" ... selections from my 1995 study notes ....

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Copyright © 1995, 2003 Hugh Cook

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