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Performing Shakespeare's Verse

Many people are taught that Shakespeare’s verse is written in iambic pentameter. In fact it is written in irregular verse with a predominant iambic pulse, which is something rather different. The key to understanding formal verse structures is the foot. The foot is a unit of rhythm usually containing a stressed syllable and one or possibly two unstressed syllables. The word going is stressed on the go and not stressed on the ing. Try stressing the ing and people will look at you strangely. Tomorrow has three syllables. Unstressed to, stressed mo, and an unstressed row. Again, putting the stresses in the wrong place will get you funny looks. Stresses are obvious enough in the pronunciation of

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