Iambic pentameter is a type of meter that is used in poetry and drama. In Poetry, the meter or metre is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse. Drama is the specific mode of Fiction represented in Performance. It describes a particular rhythm that the words establish in each line. That rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables; these small groups of syllables are called 'feet'. In verse, many meters use a foot as the basic unit in their description of the underlying rhythm of a poem The word 'iambic' describes the type of foot that is used. An iamb or iambus is a Metrical foot used in various types of Poetry. The word 'pentameter' indicates that a line has five of these 'feet'.
Different languages express rhythm in different ways. In Ancient Greek and Latin, the rhythm is created through the alternation of short and long syllables. The Ancient Greek language is the historical stage in the development of the Hellenic language family spanning the Archaic (c Latin ( lingua Latīna, laˈtiːna is an Italic language, historically spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. In Linguistics, syllable weight is the concept that syllables pattern together according to the number and/or duration of segments in the rime. In English, the rhythm is created through the use of stress, alternating between unstressed and stressed syllables. English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States In Linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain Syllables in a word An English unstressed syllable is equivalent to a classical short syllable, while an English stressed syllable is equivalent to a classical long syllable.
If a pair of syllables are arranged in a short followed by a long, or an unstressed followed by a stressed, pattern, that foot is said to be 'iambic'. The English word 'trapeze' is an example of an iambic pair of syllables, since the word is made up of two syllables ("tra—peze") and is pronounced with the stress on the second syllable ("tra—PEZE", rather than "TRA—peze"). A trapeze is a short horizontal bar hung by two cords from a support to form a Trapezoid.
'Iambic pentameter', then, is a line made up of five pairs of short/long, or unstressed/stressed, syllables. If the short/long or unstressed/stressed pattern were to be reversed, producing a line of five pairs of long/short, or stressed/unstressed pairs, that line would be described as an example of trochaic pentameter. A trochee or choree, choreus, is a Metrical foot used in formal Poetry. In Poetry, a pentameter is a line of verse consisting of five metrical feet. A trochee (DUM—de) is the opposite of an iamb (de—DUM). A trochee or choree, choreus, is a Metrical foot used in formal Poetry. An iamb or iambus is a Metrical foot used in various types of Poetry.
These terms originally applied to the quantitative meter of classical Greek poetry. In Poetry, the meter or metre is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse. The Ancient Greek language is the historical stage in the development of the Hellenic language family spanning the Archaic (c They were adopted to describe the equivalent meters in English accentual-syllabic verse. Accentual-syllabic verse is an extension of Accentual verse which fixes both the number of stresses and syllables within a Line or Stanza. Iambic rhythms come relatively naturally in English. English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the First language for most people in the United Kingdom, the United States Iambic pentameter is among the most common metrical forms in English poetry; it is used in many of the major English poetic forms, including blank verse, the heroic couplet, and some of the traditional rhymed stanza forms. Blank verse is a type of Poetry, distinguished by having a regular meter, but no Rhyme. A heroic couplet is a traditional form for English Poetry, commonly used for epic and Narrative poetry; it refers to poems constructed from a
An iambic foot is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. We could write the rhythm like this:
A line of iambic pentameter is five iambic feet in a row:
We can notate this with a '˘' mark representing an unstressed syllable and a '/' mark representing a stressed syllable. In this notation a line of iambic pentameter would look like this:
We can notate the scansion of this as follows:
We can mark the divisions between feet with a |, and the caesura (a pause) with a double vertical bar ||. To Autumn is a Poem written by English Romantic poet John Keats in 1819 (published 1820) A system of scansion is a way to mark the metrical patterns of a line of Poetry. In meter, caesura (alternative spellings are cæsura or cesura) is a term to denote an audible pause that breaks up a line of verse
Although strictly speaking, iambic pentameter refers to five iambs in a row (as above), in practice, poets vary their iambic pentameter a great deal, while maintaining the iamb as the most common foot. There are some conventions to these variations, however. Iambic pentameter must always contain only five feet, and the second foot is almost always an iamb. The first foot, on the other hand, is the most likely to change by the use of inversion, which reverses the order of unstress and stress in the foot. In Prosody the Inversion of a foot is the reversal of the order of its elements For example the first line of Richard III begins with an inversion:
Another common departure from standard iambic pentameter is the addition of a final unstressed syllable, which creates a weak or feminine ending. Richard III is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1591 One of Shakespeare's most famous lines of iambic pentameter has a weak ending:
The symbol \ here has been used to indicate a secondary or subordinate stress. This line also has an inversion of the fourth foot, following the caesura. In general a caesura acts in many ways like a line-end: inversions are common after it, and the extra unstressed syllable of the feminine ending may appear before it. Shakespeare and John Milton (in his work before Paradise Lost) at times employed feminine endings before a caesura
|as||yet|||||but||knock,|||||breathe,||shine|||||and||seek|||||to||mend. John Milton ( 9 December, 1608 – 8 November, 1674) was an English Poet, Prose Polemicist and Paradise Lost is an Epic poem in Blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. The sonnet is one of the poetic forms that can be found in Lyric poetry from Europe. John Donne (pronounced like done, dʌn 1572 – 31 March 1631 was a Jacobean poet preacher and a major representative of the Metaphysical poets||||
Donne uses an inversion (DUM da instead of da DUM) in the first foot of the first line to stress the key verb, "batter", and then sets up a clear iambic pattern with the rest of the line (da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM). In the second and fourth lines he uses spondees in the third foot to slow down the rhythm as he lists monosyllabic verbs. In Poetry, a spondee is a Metrical foot consisting of two long syllables as determined by Syllable weight in classical meters or two stressed syllables The parallel rhythm and grammar of these lines highlights the comparison Donne sets up between what God does to him "as yet" ("knock, breathe, shine and seek to mend"), and what he asks God to do ("break, blow, burn and make me new"). Donne also uses enjambment between lines three and four to speed up the flow as he builds to his desire to be made new. Enjambment (also spelled enjambement) is the breaking of a syntactic unit (a Phrase, Clause, or sentence) by the end of a line or between two To further the quickening effect of the enjambment, Donne puts an extra syllable in the final foot of the line (this can be read as an anapest (dada DUM) or as an elision). An anapaest or anapest, also called antidactylus, is a Metrical foot used in formal Poetry. Elision is the omission of one or more sounds (such as a Vowel, a Consonant, or a whole Syllable) in a word or phrase producing a result that is easier
As the examples show, iambic pentameter need not consist entirely of iambs, nor need it have ten syllables. Most poets who have a great facility for iambic pentameter frequently vary the rhythm of their poetry as Donne and Shakespeare do in the examples, both to create a more interesting overall rhythm and to highlight important thematic elements. In fact, the skillful variation of iambic pentameter, rather than the consistent use of it, may well be what distinguishes the rhythmic artistry of Donne, Shakespeare, Milton, and the 20th century sonneteer Edna St. Vincent Millay. The sonnet is one of the poetic forms that can be found in Lyric poetry from Europe. Edna St Vincent Millay ( February 22, 1892 &ndash October 19, 1950) was an American lyrical poet and playwright and the first
Linguists Morris Halle and Samuel Jay Keyser discovered a set of rules (English Stress: Its Forms, Its Growth, and Its Role in Verse, Harper and Row, 1971) which correspond with those variations which are permissible in English iambic pentameter. Morris Halle, né Pinkowitz is a Latvian-American Jewish linguist and an Institute Professor and professor Emeritus of linguistics Samuel Jay Keyser (born 1935 is an American theoretical linguist who is an authority on the history and structure of the English language and on linguistic approaches to Essentially, the Halle-Keyser rules state that only "stress maximum" syllables are important in determining the meter. A stress maximum syllable is a stressed syllable surrounded on both sides by weak syllables in the same syntactic phrase and in the same verse line. In order to be a permissible line of iambic pentameter, no stress maxima can fall on a syllable that is designated as a weak syllable in the standard, unvaried iambic pentameter pattern. Notice that the word God is not a maxima. That is because it is followed by a pause. Similary the words you, mend, and bend aren't maximas since they are the ends of a line and if they weren't it would mess up the rhyme of mend/bend and you/new. Rewriting the Donne quatrain showing the stress maxima (denoted with an 'M') results in the following:
William Shakespeare, like many of his contemporaries, wrote poetry and drama in iambic pentameter. William Shakespeare ( baptised Drama is the specific mode of Fiction represented in Performance. Here is an example from his Sonnet 18:
There is some debate over whether works such as those of Shakespeare were originally performed with the rhythm prominent, or whether the rhythm was embedded in the patterns of contemporary speech. In either case, when read aloud, such verse naturally follows a beat.
The rhythm of iambic pentameter was emphasised in Kenneth Branagh's 2000 production of Love's Labours Lost, in a scene where the protagonists tap-dance to the "Have at you now, affection's men-at-arms" speech. Kenneth Charles Branagh (born 10 December 1960) is an Emmy Award -winning Academy Award -nominated Northern Irish Actor Love's Labour's Lost is a 2000 adaptation of the comic play of the same name by William Shakespeare, directed by and starring Love's Labour's Lost is one of William Shakespeare 's early comedies believed to have been written in the mid-1590s and first published in 1598 Tap dance was developed in the United States during the nineteenth century and is popular nowadays in many parts of the world In this case, each iamb is underscored with a flap step.
John Clare is another example of a writer who uses the iambic pentameter; his poem "Badger" is consistent with it throughout:
Some scholars deny that this verse, at least in its most common and literal definition, applies to Elizabethan poets; these include, in addition to Robert Bridges (mentioned above), Leonardo Malcovati and Bryan Beard. John Clare ( 13 July 1793 – 20 May 1864) was an English Poet, in his time commonly known as "the Northamptonshire