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The Language of Shakespeare. The language used by Shakespeare in his plays is in one of three forms: prose , rhymed verse or blank verse , each of which he uses to achieve specific effects. Prose. Prose refers to ordinary speech with no regular pattern of accentual rhythm.

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The language used by Shakespeare in his plays is in one of three forms:

    • prose, rhymed verse or blank verse,
  • each of which he uses to achieve specific effects
prose
Prose
  • Prose refers to ordinary speech with no regular pattern of accentual rhythm.
  • PROSE is used whenever verse would seem bizarre:  in serious letters (Macbeth to Lady Macbeth; Hamlet to Horatio), in proclamations, and in the speeches of characters actually or pretending to be mad (Lady Macbeth; Hamlet and Ophelia; Edgar and King Lear) --
slide4

Macbeth’s letter to Lady Macbeth

  • LADY MACBETH  [Reads.]  1        "They met me in the day of success: and I have  2        learned by the perfect'st report, they have more in  3        them than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire  4        to question them further, they made themselves air,  5        into which they vanished.
slide5

Macbeth’s letter to Lady Macbeth

  • LADY MACBETH  [Reads.]  1        "They met me in the day of success: and I have  2        learned by the perfect'st report, they have more in  3        them than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire  4        to question them further, they made themselves air,  5        into which they vanished.
  • They -
  • Met -
  • Me -
slide6

Macbeth’s letter to Lady Macbeth

  • LADY MACBETH  [Reads.]  1        "They met me in the day of success: and I have  2        learned by the perfect'st report, they have more in  3        them than mortal knowledge. When I burned in desire  4        to question them further, they made themselves air,  5        into which they vanished.
  • They - Subject
  • Met - Verb
  • Me - Object
rhymed verse
Rhymed Verse
  • Rhymed verse in Shakespeare's plays is usually in rhymed couplets, i.e. two successive lines of verse of which the final words rhyme with another.
shakespeare s rhymed verse
Shakespeare’s Rhymed Verse
  • ROMEO [To JULIET] If I profane with my unworthiesthandThis holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready standTo smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.JULIET Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,Which mannerly devotion shows in this;For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.ROMEO Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?JULIET Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.ROMEO O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.JULIET Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake.ROMEO Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.
slide9

RHYME is often used for ritualistic or choral effects and for highly lyrical or sententious passages that give advice or point to a moral

inversion
Inversion
  • Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take
inversion1
Inversion
  • Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take

Inversion of the negative form of the verb. Today would be ‘Do not move.’

inversion2
Inversion
  • Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take

Inversion of the negative form of the verb. Today would be ‘Do not move.’

Inversion of the verb phrase: Using Object- Subject- Verb In Modern Stand Eng would be ‘I take my prayer’s effect’: Sub- Verb -Object

inversion3
Inversion
  • Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take
  • Why?
  • Because he needed a word to rhyme with ‘sake’

Inversion of the negative form of the verb. Today would be ‘Do not move.’

Inversion of the verb phrase: Using Object- Subject- Verb In Modern Stand Eng would be ‘I take my prayer’s effect’: Sub- Verb -Object

blank verse
Blank Verse
  • Blank Verse refers to unrhymed iambic pentameter. Blank verse resembles prose in that the final words of the lines do not rhyme in any regular pattern
slide15

BLANK VERSE is employed in a wide range of situations because it comes close to the natural speaking rhythms of English but raises it above the ordinary without sounding artificial

slide16

LADY MACBETH                                            O, never 61   Shall sun that morrow see! 62   Your face, my thane, is as a book where men 63   May read strange matters. To beguile the time, 64   Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, 65   Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower, 66   But be the serpent under't.

slide17

LADY MACBETH                                            O, never 61   Shall sun that morrow see!

  • Inversion because of the need to alter the order of words to fit the rhythm.
  • Sun -
  • Morrow -
  • See –
slide18

LADY MACBETH                                            O, never 61   Shall sun that morrow see!

  • Inversion because of the need to alter the order of words to fit the rhythm.
  • Sun - Subject
  • Morrow - Object
  • See – verb
slide19

Thanks to:

  • http://cla.calpoly.edu/~dschwart/engl339/verseprose.html