Iambic Pentameter and Sonnets Shakespeare wrote 38 plays, including Romeo & Juliet. He also wrote about 154 sonnets. sonnet : a fourteen-line poem Most of Shakespeare’s sonnets dealt with themes like love, life and death, and beauty. unstressed syllable : a weakly pronounced syllable of a word; marked with a U stressed syllable : a strongly pronounced syllable of a word; marked with a / meter : the basic rhythmic pattern of a line of poetry foot : one smaller part of meter; each foot contains a combination of stressed and unstressed syllables iamb : an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (U /) U / Afraid Af - raid U / Become be - come U / Appoint Ap-point pentameter : five sets of feet, containing 10 syllables Many parts of Romeo and Juliet and Shakespeare’s sonnets are all written in Iambic Pentameter Five sets of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. OR Each line of poetry contains five iambs. Five iambs U/ U/ U/ U/ U/ 1 2 3 4 5 Two main purposes for iambic pentameter 1. Easier to memorize Why do you think it would be important to Shakespeare, a playwright, that his writing was easy to memorize? 2. Helps the reader to tell the difference between upper class characters and lower class characters Shakespeare would write lines for upper-class characters in iambic pentameter. Another reason for using iambic pentameter 3. We talk naturally in this rhythm. We naturally speak in unstressed and stressed syllables. If we didn’t, we would be speaking in a monotone voice. U / U / U / U / U / I am a pirate with a wooden leg. I AM a PIrate WITH a WOODen LEG. U / U / U / U / U / I’m hungry. Is it almost time for lunch? I’m HUNgry. IS it ALmost TIME for LUNCH? U / U / U / U / U / We hold these truths to be self-evident. We HOLD these TRUTHS to BE self- EVidENT. U / U / U / U / U / So foul and fair a day I have not seen. So FOUL and FAIR a DAY I HAVE not SEEN. U / U / U / U / U / But soft: what light through yonder window breaks? U/ U / U / U / U / It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.