iambic pentameter

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Act I

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

I. After the humorous section of puns in Act I, scene i, the thereafter. Notice how ends.

tone

changes drastically in line 33 and

hostile

Marullus becomes as the humor

II. Pay close attention to Marullus' hostile question in line 34:

"Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?"

(II continued) In this line, Shakespeare switches from

prose

to

iambic pentameter

. Up to this point, everyone’s lines have been written in prose, which simply means

ordinary speech or writing written in paragraph form, as opposed to verse

.

III. The tribunes, however, switch to

iambic pentameter

. What, exactly, does this mean?

III A. An iamb (the adjective is "

iambic

") is an

unstressed

followed by a

stressed

one.

syllable Note: The homograph “record” may be pronounced two ways:

re

-cord or re-

cord

Mark the accents and circle the one that is an iamb.

III B. Now that we know what an

iambic

.

iamb

is, we know that the pentameter must be But what does the term

pentameter

mean?

Penta

means ____________.

Meter

means _____________.

So

iambic pentameter

is a poetic form consisting of ______ syllables per line in pairs of ______—one _______________ syllable followed by an ________________ syllable.

IV.

Here is Marullus’ quote from line 34. Mark it with the accents for iambic pentameter

"Wherefore rejoice? What conquest brings he home?"

V.

Now look at page 829 in the purple literature books. Keeping in mind what we have just learned about iambic pentameter, why is line eighteen written in the following way?

Soothsayer:

Beware the ides of March.

Caesar:

What man is that?

Shakespeare collapses the two lines of text to get the ten syllables necessary for iambic pentameter.

VI. Iambic pentameter becomes

blank verse

when the poetry is not written to rhyme.

VII.

Now look at page 880 in the book at Brutus’ monologue (lines 12-34). Is Brutus speaking prose or blank verse in his monologue? (Circle one.) How do you know?

His monologue is written in prose because it’s in ¶ form and because there are not ten syllables per line.

VIII.

Turn the page to Mark Antony’s monologue (p. 882). Does he speak prose or blank verse in his monologue?

Antony’s monologue is written in blank verse because it’s in poetic form and because there are generally ten syllables per line.

IX.

What can we infer from the use of blank verse?

Shakespeare uses blank verse when he wants to make a character seem more intelligent or more noble.

X. One last point: Why does Mark Antony say “interréd” instead of “interred”?

Shakespeare needed the extra syllable to complete the line of blank verse.

Using your glosses in your text, decode the imagery Shakespeare uses to have Flavius describe Caesar and his relationship with the commoners in lines 74-77.

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