Iambic Pentameter Example

An iambic foot is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. We could write the rhythm like this:

da DUM

A line of iambic pentameter is five iambic feet in a row:

da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM

We can notate this with a ‘˘’ mark representing an unstressed syllable and a ‘/’ mark representing a stressed syllable[1]. In this notation a line of iambic pentameter would look like this:

˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ /

The following line from John KeatsOde to Autumn is a straightforward example:[2]

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

We can notate the scansion of this as follows:

˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ /
To swell the gourd, and plump the ha- zel shells

We can mark the divisions between feet with a |, and the caesura (a pause) with a double vertical bar ||.

˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ /
To swell | the gourd, || and plump | the ha- | zel shells
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Published in: on December 3, 2008 at 1:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

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