Shakespeare's Sonnets Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What meter is used in "Sonnet 18"?

Sonnet 18 is written in iambic pentameter. This means that each line is ten syllables long, and consists of five iambs. An iamb consists of an unstressed or short syllable, followed by a stressed or long one.

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Shakespeare's "Sonnet 18" is perhaps Shakespeare most famous sonnet and as such the most famous English language sonnet.

Much of its popularity comes from its perfect form. There is no what we would call enjambment—sentences that run into the next line. Each line is its own sentence and is written in what we call iambic pentameter. Iambic pentameter is a rhyme scheme popularised during Shakespeare's days and particularly adopted by sonnet writers.

The iambic pentameter has 10 syllables per line. These syllables are further divided into 5 iambic feet. Each iambic foot consists of one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable.

Let's look at the first line of "Sonnet 18":

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

So you can see the first word "shall" is unstressed and the second word "day" is unstressed. This pattern continues through the first ten syllables and the remainder of the poem.

We can divide the sonnet into four further parts. We can divide the first twelve lines into 3...

(The entire section contains 6 answers and 1,008 words.)

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