What is the difference between blank verse and rhymed verse ? And who uses blank verse / rhymed verse in Hamlet?I was told that aristocracy used rhymed verse (Laertes, Ophelia, Polonius) and royal...

What is the difference between blank verse and rhymed verse ? And who uses blank verse / rhymed verse in Hamlet?

I was told that aristocracy used rhymed verse (Laertes, Ophelia, Polonius) and royal family blank verse (Fortinbras, Hamlet, Claudius...) ? Is it so?

Expert Answers
kschweiz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Blank verse is poetry that does not use rhymed iambic pentameter (a line of ten syllables with five stresses and no rhyme). This is typical of Shakespeare's works, although he was less strict with this structure as time passed.

In fact, Shakespeare does not distinguish between the classes in this manner. Laertes's speech to Ophelia in Act I, Scene III, is written in blank verse.

Hamlet, on the other hand, speaks primarily in prose. Often he appears to be insane, and in these situations, Shakespeare abandoned verse altogether, likely because it has too much structure to support or display insanity in his characters.

However, when Hamlet is speaking seriously, or when romance is involved, Shakespeare reverts to structured rhymed verse. It is also used to distinguish various things int he script--for instance, when the actors enter and put on the play within the play, Shakespeare utilized rhymed verse. This helped make it obvious to the reader that the "Mousetrap" was different from Hamlet, so that confusion would not overcome. Further, this casts a horrifying hint of dark humor over the entire situation; rhymed verse often sounds sing-song, reminiscent of nursery rhymes, and highlights high tension as well as the conflicting ridiculous nature of the trap.

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Hamlet

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