When we speak of the meter of a poem, we are referring to its overall rhythm, or, more specifically, the syllables and words used to create that rhythm. Most of his plays were also written in iambic pentameter, except for lower-class characters, who speak in prose. In order to understand iambic pentameter, we must first understand what an iamb is. Simply, put an iamb or iambus is a unit of stressed and unstressed syllables that are used in a line of poetry. Sometimes called an iambic foot, this unit can be a single word of two syllables or two words of one syllable each. For instance, the word "airplane" is one unit, with "air" as the stressed syllable and "plane" as the unstressed.
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Katharine writes both modern and traditional poetry, and has two books of poetry in print. Writing a poem in iambic pentameter is not as difficult as it may sound. If you want to write a sonnet , you will need this skill, and many other forms require or are at least better in iambic rhythm. Iambic pentameter is a line of poetry written in alternating stressed and unstressed syllables, with a total of ten syllables to the line. The first thing you need to understand is an iambic "foot", which is two syllables, one unstressed and the other stressed.
Last Updated: April 19, References. This article was co-authored by Diya Chaudhuri, PhD. She has over 5 years of experience as a writing tutor and instructor for both the University of Florida and Georgia State University.
By: Carrie Whitney, Ph. Updated: Feb 17, If you've ever studied Shakespeare , you're probably familiar with — or at least have heard of — iambic pentameter. While iambic pentameter may sound intimidating, it's really just the rhythm of speech that comes naturally to the English language. Shakespeare used iambic pentameter because that natural rhythm replicates how we speak every day.