Introduction

In this blog I aim to provide a fairly comprehensive description and exploration of iambic pentameter from the ground up, in simple, easy to follow segments. We will progress from what is meant by ‘iamb’ and ‘pentameter’, to what defines ‘stress’, to different types of ‘feminine ending’, to simple variant ‘feet’ (a ‘foot’ being the smallest possible metrical… Continue reading Introduction

Iambic pentameter & the principles of metrical variation: part 1 – feminine endings & simple variations

In these posts I aim to outline the principles by which Shakespeare varied the rhythm of the iambic pentameter line. These principles produce metrical patterns, or ‘figures’, which Shakespeare employed to highly expressive effect. But first, what is iambic pentameter? An iamb is a metrical unit, or foot, that is comprised of an unstressed syllable followed by… Continue reading Iambic pentameter & the principles of metrical variation: part 1 – feminine endings & simple variations

Iambic pentameter & the principles of metrical variation: part 2 – radical variations

In my last post, I explored end-line & mid-line feminine endings, and simple variations formed by adjusting the stress of single syllables. Here is a table of the metrical feet and figures I listed:- Feet Iamb:       di-dum Pyrrhic:   di-di (created by destressing the beat syllable) Spondee: dum-dum (created by stressing the non-beat syllable) [incidentally, these… Continue reading Iambic pentameter & the principles of metrical variation: part 2 – radical variations

Iambic pentameter & the principles of metrical variation: part 3 – double trochees, hexameters, epic caesuras in shared lines, missing syllables, emphasis on a non-beat syllable & the false choriamb

Note to new readers: Please read parts 1 & 2 of this article first! They make a lot more sense when read in the correct order! In this post I will be exploring some less common, but very intriguing variations. In all these examples, I will not split up figures into separate feet. I will… Continue reading Iambic pentameter & the principles of metrical variation: part 3 – double trochees, hexameters, epic caesuras in shared lines, missing syllables, emphasis on a non-beat syllable & the false choriamb

Scanning Shakespeare’s Sonnets: Sonnet 1

In this post I aim to provide a careful metrical analysis of Shakespeare’s opening sonnet, and hope to illustrate how an understanding of meter can enhance our appreciation of his work. Some feet combine with each other to form metrical figures, and I have not divided the figures into individual feet. Those figures in red… Continue reading Scanning Shakespeare’s Sonnets: Sonnet 1