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Forms of Language


Shakespeare uses language to tell his audience about his characters' mood and social status, as well as to communicate the story. His plays are written in Iambic Pentameter - a form of verse, where lines of ten syllables are employed. The stress of the language is: di da di da di da di da di da. The rhythm of the verse closely mimics that of everyday speech.

Shakespeare employs the iambic pentameter in two main ways. Firstly, in Blank Verse, which is made up of unrhymed lines of ten syllables each. The verse can contain any number of lines.
Secondly, Shakespeare uses Rhyming Couplets, two lines of ten syllables that are linked by a rhyme. They are frequently used for dramatic impact or to add tension within a scene.

Finally, Shakespeare uses prose. Unlike poetry, prose has no regular rhythm and is not governed by a rhyme. Prose is the ordinary language of the people, and is usually used to indicate a character of lower social or comedic status.

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