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Say Whaaa ?. A brief guide to Shakespearian Language. 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. Did people really talk like that?. UH…NO.

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say whaaa

Say Whaaa?

A brief guide to Shakespearian Language

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.

uh no

Shakespeare manipulated language structure, invented words and phrases, and used wordplay for poetic and dramatic effect.

that s annoying why
That’s annoying…why?
  • To create a specific poetic rhythm
  • To emphasize a certain word
  • To give a character a specific speech pattern.


I ate the sandwich.

I the sandwich ate.

Ate the sandwich I.

Ate I the sandwich.

The sandwich I ate.

The sandwich ate I.

hint 1

Locate the subject, verb, and the object of the


Notice, in Shakespeare’s work, the object of

the sentence is often placed at the beginning

(the sandwich) in front of the verb (ate) and

subject (I).

Also, for the sake of poetry, Will often omittedletters, syllables, and whole words—notunlike contemporary speech.
ohhh ahhh iambic pentameter
Ohhhahhh. Iambic pentameter
  • 10 syllables
  • Five pairs of alternating unstressed and stressed syllables
  • The rhythm in each line sounds like:

ba-BUM / ba-BUM / ba-BUM / ba-BUM / ba-BUM


Meter: the pattern of stressed/unstressed


  • Foot: a group of syllables that forms one

complete unit of a metrical pattern

  • Meter= patterns of stress + total feet per line
  • IambicPentameter: five beats of alternating unstressed and stressed syllables; ten syllables per line.
  • BlankVerse: unrhymed iambic pentameter.
so fair and foul a day i have not seen the course of true love nev er did run smooth
'Sofair / and foul / a day / I have / not seen‘'The course / of true / love nev/erdid / run smooth‘
and then he gets tricky
And then he gets tricky


Adds an extra unstressed beat at the end of a line to emphasize a character’s sense of contemplation.

To be, / or not / to be: / that is / the ques- / -tion

verse or prose
Verse or prose?
  • Verse: high status, great affairs of war and state, and tragic moments.
  • Prose: low status characters (servants, clowns, drunks, villains),

proclamations, written challenges,

accusations, letters, comedic moments, and to express madness.

verse or prose1
Verse or prose?

The easiest way to tell whether a speech is written in verse or prose is to look at how the text is presented on the page. Verse doesn’t go to the edge of the page, whereas prose does. This is because of the ten syllables to a line structure.

10 most common
10 most common

See hand out