Why is iambic pentameter important?

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Why is iambic pentameter important?

Iambic pentameter is a type of writing style. Shakespeare has used this writing style in his works. Many of the plays of Shakespeare were written in the writing style of Iambic pentameter. But, the lower-class characters were made to deliver their dialogues in prose. Iambic pentameter has the style which has ten syllables in every line. Each line consists of five pairs of unstressed and stressed syllables alternating with one another. For instance, each of the pairs of syllables sounds like ba-BUM”. In this pair, one syllable has some stress on it and another does not need stress. This single pair of syllables is called as iambus. Like this, five pairs exist together in a line which is known as iambic pentameter.

Shakespeare apart from having ten syllables, added iambic pentameter to provide color and significance to the characters he has created. These rhythmic variations are unique for the works of Shakespeare. Iambic pentameter is one of the styles with which Shakespeare’s works can be identified. Another small change in the current style is implemented by Shakespeare by adding an unstressed syllable at the end of the line. This variation in the pentameter rule is known as feminine ending.

Iambic pentameter is gracefully implemented in the verses of his works and Shakespeare has used this meter with plenty of skill and beauty. He used the pentameter style especially in his sonnets. But, Iambic pentameter was not invented by Shakespeare. This writing style was a standard convention in literature that was implemented by many poets after the Shakespeare period and before him too.

It is not certain whether people in history have ever delivered the speeches of Shakespeare loudly and naturally stressed on the concerned syllables. This aspect is least discussed by many. What is important is that iambic pentameter has made everyone to understand far about the style of Shakespeare’s writing methodology.

Author: Hari M

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