Asked • 07/10/19

How does Shakespeare's iambic pentameter work with Original Pronunciation?

In school, students are often taught about iambic pentameter via [Shakespearian examples]( These, however, were based on the Received Pronunciation (RP) reading of Shakespeare's works. In reality, [Shakespeare used an entirely different pronunciation](, replete with differences which removed syllables relative to Received Pronunciation. Take the first stanza of Romeo and Juliet: > Two households, both alike in dignity, > In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, > From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, > Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. > From forth the fatal loins of these two foes > A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Compare with the OP of the stanza: How can iambic pentameter possibly work when the syllables that are meant to be stressed aren't even present?

1 Expert Answer


John C. answered • 07/30/19

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21 Years of teaching, English, Spanish, ESL, Test Prep

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