Sunday, May 14, 2017

Hmm …

 King Charles the Third language - why are they speaking like that? What is blank verse? What is unrhymed iambic pentameter? Why is King Charles III written like Shakespeare's poetry? BBC2 and PBS Masterpiece in the US. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I am somewhat amazed that so much space is spent explaining blank verse and iambic pentameter. And not exactly correctly. A"special use of syllables and rhythm common to many of Shakespeare’s plays … one syllable expressed normally and one emphasised." Actually, one syllable is naturally unstressed and the other is naturally stressed.  The word incumbent, for example, is correctly and naturally pronounced with an accent on the second syllable. Iambic pentameter is, in fact, the commonest meter in English poetry.

1 comment:

  1. It's remarkable that a news article would have to explain (and, as you point out, badly explain) the basics of iambic pentameter to a readership that presumably graduated high school.

    I saw the D.C. production of Charles III and found Bartlett's uses of verse and diction incomplete and ineffective. The iambic pentameter can't adequately convey royalty and refinement when the characters make basic grammatical errors (including the pronoun "I" as an indirect object) that their real-life equivalents, educated at Eton and Oxbridge, would know to avoid. Those kinds of flubs made me think that Bartlett doesn't fully understand his subjects and their world.