Video:How to Write in Iambic Pentameterwith Milo De Prieto
Iambic Pentameter is a popular structure for writing anything from a verse play to a sonnet. Learn how to write in the style of Shakespeare in this how-to video from About.com.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Write in Iambic Pentameter
Hello, I'm Milo for About dot com, and today we are talking about how to write in Iambic pentameter.
What is the Rhythm of Iambic Pentameter
In poetry, rhythm is created with stressed and unstressed syllables. A "foot" in a poem is a unit that organizes the rhythm. It is like a beat or in this case a unit of stressed and unstressed syllables. Pentameter means that the line in the poem has 5 feet and Iambic describes the type of foot that is used in English (an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable).
When said aloud, an iamb sounds like a du-DUM. The first syllable is short or unstressed and the second is long or stressed.
How to Write in Iambic Pentameter
Iambic pentameter has been used for various structures such as in Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. You can decided on a structure beforehand, and have your subject matter fit into that, or organize it afterwards, letting the Iambic pattern take you away.
Draw a line on the top of a piece of paper and divide it into five sections:
This is your first line. Each section should have 5 beats per line following the Iambic structure (an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable = 1 beat). Repeat this technique until you have all the lines written and then read your poem aloud.
You might mark your unstressed and stressed syllables to make sure you are getting it right. Feel free to play around with where you place the stressed and unstressed syllables. Even Shakespeare did not follow the rules strictly. Be creative with the structure as it gives your work personality and style. Most likely you will find that you need to re-work your poem. Nothing is perfect the first time around; be patient, it takes a little practice.
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