Use Iambic Pentameter in Poetry

Edited by Thor, Crystal, Eng

Hello, and welcome to VisiHow. In this series of videos, we are looking at the different styles of poetry. In this video, we're going to look at Iambic Pentameter. This is a very popular meter, or style, for writing poems and sonnets.

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    To understand iambic pentameter, we first need to break down the words and define them
    Penta means five. Five as in pentagram. In the sense of Iambic Pentameter, there's going to be five sets of the meter. The meter refers to the structure of the syllables. Syllables are paired two or three at a time, and this is called a foot. With penta and meter, we have five times the meter. Five times five feet each with 2 syllables in that foot, so 10 syllables in each line.
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  2. 2
    Meters refer to the structure, and they are the style of the syllables
    Each meter has its own way of stressing the syllables, and so in a foot there are different ways to stress the syllables. We have the first example, trochee. Here the first syllable is stressed and the second syllable is not, so we have the word the HO-tel. The second example is spondee, where both syllables are stressed. DA-DUM, FAT-CAT. These are two types of meter.
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  3. 3
    Iamb is a type of meter where the first syllable of the foot is unstressed, and the second is stressed
    The first syllable (Da) is unstressed and the second syllable (DUM) is stressed. Da-DUM, big-DOG. So the name iambic pentameter means a five meter group, or a five foot meter, using the iambic style.
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  4. 4
    So the name Iambic Pentameter means a da-DUM rhythm repeated five times
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  5. 5
    This style was one of Shakespeare's favorites, and he often used it in his sonnets, as it provided a rhythmically pleasing framework in which to write
    Here is a very famous example, Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
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  6. 6
    And often in his gold complexion dimmed; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature's, changing course, untrimmed; But thy eternal summer shall not fade
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  7. 7
    Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st; So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this and this gives life to thee
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  8. 8
    So as we can see here, we have dissected the first three lines, and we can see there are ten syllables
    Shall-I com-PARE thee-TO a-SUM mer's-DAY. There are ten syllables; there are five feet; each foot contains two syllables, as in the iamb meter. Shall-I com-PARE thee-TO a-SUM mer's-DAY. Thou-ART more-LOV ley-AND more-TEM per-ATE. Rough-WINDS do-SHAKE the-DAR ling-BUDS of-MAY.
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  9. 9
    Shakespeare uses a rhyming system in his sonnets, but you don't have to
    You can see that iambic pentameter gives the words a certain rhythm, a musical lint, and a musical flavor, and this is why it's used. Now it's your turn. You can try and write your own poem and sonnet using iambic pentameter, and then, if you like, you can share them with us, and we'd be very happy to read them. You can do that in the section below. If you have any questions or comments about this video, you can also leave them in the section below. In that section, you will find a link to the other videos in this poetry series. You've been watching a video on how to write a poem or sonnet in iambic pentameter, and you've been watching VisiHow.
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Video: Use Iambic Pentameter in Poetry

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Recent edits by: Crystal, Thor

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