How does Iambic Pentamiter work

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Seriously though

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Iambic pentameter is a type of poetic line that was widely used in Shakespeare’s day.

The words tell you how the lines are constructed: a meter(line) of five iambs, which is a word that means an unstressed and a stressed syllable together.

Let’s look at an example from John Milton’s *Paradise Lost*:

>Fast by the Oracle of God: I thence

>Invoke thy aid to my adventurous Song,

>That with no middle flight intends to soar

>Above th’ Aonian Mount, while it pursues…”

If you count the syllables in each line, you’ll get ten. And if you slow down as you read each line, you can feel where the stresses go:

>Fast **by** the **Or**a**cle** of **God**: I **thence**

>In**voke** thy **aid** to **my** ad **ven** t’rous **Song**

“Without the knowledge of the pace of speech

’tis difficult to parse the rules you seek.

With syllables of ten on every line

and “unstressed, stressed” the rhythm all the time!”

[poem: over

that’s quite bad, but the best example I can come up with on the fly.
basically: iambic pentameter is a style of poetry in which every line has 10 syllables, and every other syllable is stressed in the following order:
“dit DAH dit DAH dit DAH dit DAH dit DAH”

from my above example, the stressed syllables are now in caps:

withOUT the KNOWledge OF the PACE of SPEECH

english language has stressed syllables by default. In fact, the previous sentence can demonstrate this as well:

ENGlish LANguage has STRESSED SYLlables by DEfault.

Though all those words had stressed syllables at the beginning, not all words do. Take “Iambic Pentameter” for instance:

iAMbic pentAMeter

so, tl;dr

iambic pentameter is a poetry structure with 10 syllables per line that follows a pattern of stressed/unstressed syllables.]

First off- Shakespeare sucks and you cannot learn iambic pentameter from that guy. We don’t talk like that no more…

Pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables 10 syllables in a line…


His PALMS are SWEATy, KNEES Weak, ARMS are HEAVy”- Eminem

Iambic Pentameter sucks trying to learn it by people trying to teach it to you.. it can be a grind….what helped my entire class when I was younger was I had an awesome English teacher in high school that brought in music of the day- L.L. Cool J, Pink Floyd and Sinead O’Connor. Couple different genres and we listened to the lyrics and found the iamb and pentameter (if it was there). You can google “iambic pentameter in songs”nowadays and a boatload of examples pop up.
I could give you the textbook version which is not the 5-year old way to explain it or you can just go listen to some music on the inter webs…

Iambic pentameter refers to the pattern or rhythm of a line of poetry or verse and has to do with the number of syllables in the line and the emphasis placed on those syllables. William Shakespeare’s works are often used as great examples of iambic pentameter.