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THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE: SHAKESPEARE'S STYLES OF WRITING

Shakespeare used three styles of writing in his plays. Here you'll find examples from 'Twelfth Night':

Type of Style Explanation Example
I. Poetic verse (rhymed) This is often used to signal the end of scenes like a curtain call or for heightened dramatic effect. Look at this rhyming couplet:
Away before me to sweet beds of flowers;
Love-thoughts lie rich when canopied with bowers.
II. Blank verse (unrhymed) Verse which was intended to represent the rhythms of speech. It is usually used by noble charcters who are given elevated speech to show their feelings and mood: If music be the food of love play on.
(The speech is in iambic pentameter. That is, it has 10 syllables to the line in which five are stressed and five are unstressed.)
III. Prose Ordinary language used by characters of all ranks. Uneducated characters tend to use it. It can also be used for comic exchanges between charcters, for plot development and for speech which lacks dramatic intensity. Save thee, friend, and thy music.
Dost thou live by thy tabor?
No, Sir, I live by the church.
Art thou a churchman?
No such matter sir: I do live by the church;
for I do live at my house, and my house
doth stand by the church.

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