Iambic pentameter

(321 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 12: Global Voices, Global Histories: World Literatures and Cultures.

An ictothetic metre consisting of ten syllable-positions, which may divided into five segments or ‘feet', each prototypically carrying a beat on the second syllable:

Her eyes|, her hair|, her cheek|, her gait|, her voice|.

There are two basic ways of varying this scheme: metrical variation (reversal, swap, coda) varies the pattern itself, and prosodic variation varies the way the patterns are represented in the syllables of English. In terms of metrical variation we may reverse the order of beat and offbeat in a foot, making the beat come first; any such reversal <…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Groves, Peter Lewis. "Iambic pentameter". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 June 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=5524, accessed 27 November 2015.]