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Analysing shakespeare’s poetry


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Analysing shakespeare’s poetry

  1. 1. AnalysingShakespeare’s poetry Francis Gilbert
  2. 2.  To learn HOW and WHY Shakespeare wrote poetry To learn about Shakespeare‟s use of rhythmLearning Objectives
  3. 3.  Shakespeare wrote most of his plays in BLANK VERSE: each line has TEN SYLLABLES and FIVE main BEATS. Much of his verse is IAMBIC, it consists of a regular pattern where the stress on a word comes SECOND: di-DUM The verse is written in PENTAMETER because there are FIVE main beats (PENT = FIVE)Blank Verse
  4. 4.  Good actors develop a “FEEL” for the verse, emphasizing its RHYTHMIC qualities. “But SOFT, what LIGHT through YONder WINdow BREAKS?” It IS my LADy, O it IS my LOVE” Notice how the stresses come SECOND. Notice how the words GENERATE a music, a melody…Reading Shakespeare’s verse
  5. 5.  Some of Shakespeare‟s verse is not REGULAR, ie not in “iambic pentameter” The ONLY way to work out the rhythm is to read it a FEW times and LISTEN to the beats… “O ROMeo, ROMeo, WHEREfore ART thou ROMeo?” The line creates a “FALLING” rhythm, particularly on “ROMeo” where there is a STRESS on the first syllable and then TWO “soft” stresses, creating a “FALLING” sensation. The effect of the rhythm is to create an EMOTIONAL and PASSIONATE atmosphere…IRREGULAR RHYTHM
  6. 6.  The crucial thing to think about is the EFFECT the rhythm of a line creates. You can only work this out by listening to actors perform the line, and reading it yourself…Discussing the effect of therhythm
  7. 7.  Iambic verse (di-DUM) creates the EFFECT of regularity, making things seem NORMAL, it is RISING, UPBEAT rhythm. Eg “O SPEAK aGAIN, bright ANGel…”Typical “EFFECTS”
  8. 8.  Anapaests (di-di-DUM) are RISING beats too, creating often a POSITIVE, “proud” EFFECT. “I am NO piLOT, yet wert THOU as FAR/As that VAST shore WASHED with the FARTHEST sea/ I should ADventURE for such MERchandISE”Anapaests
  9. 9.  Trochees (DUM-di) create a “FALLING” effect, and often sound irregular and disjointed. Eg “DOST thou LOVE me (TWO TROCHEES)? I KNOW thou WILT say „Ay‟/ And I will TAKE thy WORD?”Trochees
  10. 10.  Dactyls (DUM-di-di) create a “FALLING” effect too, and can create the EMOTIONAL effects of despair, worry, anxiety. “TOO like the LIGHTening, WHICH doth CEASE to BE/ERE one can SAY, „It LIGHTens‟.Dactyls
  11. 11.  Look for enjambment (run-on) lines; this often creates the sensation of “pace”, “speed”, “thinking things through”… “But trust me gentleman, I‟ll prove more true/Than those that have more cunning to be strange.”Enjambment (RUN-ON lines)
  12. 12.  Pauses or the ends of sentences in the middle of lines create powerful pauses that generate dramatic tension… Eg JULIET: “Well do not swear. Although I joy in thee,/I have no joy of these contract tonight.” Eg ROMEO: “Wouldst thou withdraw it? For what purpose, love?”The end of sentences or pauses inthe middle of a line (caesura)