Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Shakespearean Verse Scansion: Meaning and the Actor’s Guide.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Shakespearean Verse Scansion: Meaning and the Actor’s Guide."— Presentation transcript:

1 Shakespearean Verse Scansion: Meaning and the Actor’s Guide

2 Language is the Key… WHY? No (or very limited) stage sets No (or very limited) stage sets No (or very few) stage directions in the text No (or very few) stage directions in the text No (or very limited) special effects No (or very limited) special effects

3 Language is the Key… WHY? No (or very limited) stage sets No (or very limited) stage sets No (or very few) stage directions in the text No (or very few) stage directions in the text No (or very limited) special effects No (or very limited) special effects All of this information must be conveyed through LANGUAGE

4 Shakespearean Vocabulary HUGE! HUGE! Used between 17 and 26 THOUSAND different words in his plays and poems Used between 17 and 26 THOUSAND different words in his plays and poems “Invented” over 1700 words (including…) “Invented” over 1700 words (including…)  arouse  bet  eyeball  lonely  obscene  puking  swagger  torture

5 So… Listening was the KEY Who attends a play? Who attends a play?

6 So… Listening was the KEY Who attends a play? Who attends a play? Audience Audience What is the root of that word? What is the root of that word?

7 So… Listening was the KEY Who attends a play? Who attends a play? Audience Audience What is the root of that word? What is the root of that word? Latin: audientia … to hear Latin: audientia … to hear

8 The Actor’s Dilemma At the deepest level: what am I saying? What am I feeling? At the deepest level: what am I saying? What am I feeling? On the simplest level: How do I remember all those lines? On the simplest level: How do I remember all those lines? Hamlet has over 1300 lines Hamlet has over 1300 lines Is it easier to remember a paragraph or the words to a song? Is it easier to remember a paragraph or the words to a song?

9 Scansion Songs have rhythm… so do poems Songs have rhythm… so do poems Reading a poem for rhythm and meter is called “scansion” Reading a poem for rhythm and meter is called “scansion”

10 Feet and Meter A poetic “foot” is a multi-syllable “chunk” of the line that has a particular order of stress A poetic “foot” is a multi-syllable “chunk” of the line that has a particular order of stress iamb: unstressed followed by stressed iamb: unstressed followed by stressed Examples: aRISE, aGAINST, reSPECT Examples: aRISE, aGAINST, reSPECT trochee: stressed followed by unstressed trochee: stressed followed by unstressed Examples: WINdow, NOthing, TWINkle, FORtune Examples: WINdow, NOthing, TWINkle, FORtune Other feet: anapest, dactyl… and more Other feet: anapest, dactyl… and more

11 Feet and Meter (continued) “Meter” refers to the number of “feet” in a line of poetry “Meter” refers to the number of “feet” in a line of poetry One foot: Monometer One foot: Monometer Two feet: Dimeter Two feet: Dimeter Three feet: Trimeter Three feet: Trimeter Four feet: Tetrameter Four feet: Tetrameter Five feet: Pentameter Five feet: Pentameter

12 Blank Verse Shakespeare wrote many of his plays in “blank verse”… UNrhymed iambic pentameter Shakespeare wrote many of his plays in “blank verse”… UNrhymed iambic pentameter Sonnets are written in iambic pentameter as well, but with a very specific rhyme scheme Sonnets are written in iambic pentameter as well, but with a very specific rhyme scheme How many syllables per line? How many syllables per line?

13 The Sound of the Human Heart iambic pentameter: five unstressed/stressed feet per line… iambic pentameter: five unstressed/stressed feet per line… ten syllables per line ten syllables per line baBUM baBUM baBUM baBUM baBUM baBUM baBUM baBUM baBUM baBUM

14 An Exercise I need ten volunteers… I need ten volunteers…

15 Two Examples… Two of the most famous scenes in Shakespeare: Two of the most famous scenes in Shakespeare: The balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet The balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet Hamlet’s soliloquy (dramatic monologue) Hamlet’s soliloquy (dramatic monologue) Graphic symbols: Graphic symbols: ~ = an unaccented syllable ~ = an unaccented syllable \ = an accented syllable \ = an accented syllable _ = a caesura, or metrical pause _ = a caesura, or metrical pause

16 Ex. 1: Romeo and Juliet ROMEO But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

17 Ex. 1: Romeo and Juliet ROMEO ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. regular iambic pentameter line: 10 syllables trochee foot two syllables slurred as one Look at the stressed words: they tell the story: Soft! Light breaks… east, Jul (jewel?) is sun.

18 Ex. 1: Romeo and Juliet ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ Who is already sick and pale with grief, Who is already sick and pale with grief, ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ That thou her maid art far more fair than she: That thou her maid art far more fair than she: ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ Be not her maid, since she is envious; Be not her maid, since she is envious; ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ Her vestal livery is but sick and green Her vestal livery is but sick and green ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. two syllables slurred as one all three syllables… why?

19 Ex. 1: Romeo and Juliet \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ It is my lady, O, it is my love! It is my lady, O, it is my love! \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ _ _ O, that she knew she were! O, that she knew she were! ~ \ ~ ~ \ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ ~ \ \ ~ \ ~ \ She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that? She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that? ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ Her eye discourses; I will answer it. Her eye discourses; I will answer it. \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks: I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks: only three feet (six syllables)… so a two-beat pause… WHY? awkward rhythms: Romeo is confused and lacks confidence

20 Ex. 1: Romeo and Juliet ROMEO ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ O, that I were a glove upon that hand, O, that I were a glove upon that hand, ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ That I might touch that cheek! That I might touch that cheek! ~ \ ~ \ JULIET Ay me! ~ \ ~ \ ROMEO She speaks:

21 Ex. 1: Romeo and Juliet Three poetic lines? ROMEO ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ O, that I were a glove upon that hand, O, that I were a glove upon that hand, ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ That I might touch that cheek! That I might touch that cheek! ~ \ ~ \ JULIET Ay me! ~ \ ~ \ ROMEO She speaks:

22 Ex. 1: Romeo and Juliet Three poetic lines? NO! Ten total syllables, ONE iambic pentameter line… to be spoken WITHOUT PAUSES! (they’re sharing a heartbeat… ahhhhh) ROMEO ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ O, that I were a glove upon that hand, O, that I were a glove upon that hand, ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ That I might touch that cheek! That I might touch that cheek! ~ \ ~ \ JULIET Ay me! ~ \ ~ \ ROMEO She speaks:

23 Ex. 2: Hamlet HAMLET To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;

24 Ex. 2: Hamlet HAMLET ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ \ ~ ~ \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ \ ~ ~ \ ~ To be, or not to be: that is the question: \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; Notice all the extra unstressed syllables at the end of the first four lines; The lines trail off… And yet the extra syllables lead us to see that Hamlet has too many thoughts going through his head. This fifth line is even more problematic… it’s like there’s an entire line missing at the end of the question… Is that a direction for the actor to pause a full breath? It makes sense, given what follows…

25 Ex. 2: Hamlet ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ No more; and by a sleep to say we end No more; and by a sleep to say we end ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; two syllables slurred into one another line with an extra unstressed syllable… too many thoughts?

26 Ex. 2: Hamlet ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ \ ~ ~ \ To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ For in that sleep of death what dreams may come For in that sleep of death what dreams may come ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, ~ \ ~ \ _ \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ _ \ ~ ~ \ Must give us pause: there's the respect Must give us pause: there's the respect ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ That makes calamity of so long life; That makes calamity of so long life;... only 8 syllables in this line… actor needs to take a breath… the next sentence covers the next 13 lines!

27 Ex. 2: Hamlet … ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ And thus the native hue of resolution And thus the native hue of resolution ~ \ ~ \ ~ ~ \ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ ~ \ \ ~ \ Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, ~ \ ~ \ ~ ~ \ \ ~ \ ~ ~ \ ~ \ ~ ~ \ \ ~ \ ~ And enterprises of great pith and moment And enterprises of great pith and moment ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ With this regard their currents turn awry, With this regard their currents turn awry, ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ ~ \ And lose the name of action.--Soft you now! And lose the name of action.--Soft you now! extra unstressed syllable here awkward rhythms; his resolution really IS “sicklied o’er” He’s interrupted (someone walks in on him); it happens quickly… no pause (10 syllables)

28 Conclusion No lies: Shakespeare can be difficult No lies: Shakespeare can be difficult Vocabulary Vocabulary Written in poetry Written in poetry BUT… BUT… With work, including LISTENING and SAYING THE WORDS ALOUD, understanding the language and the mental/emotional state of the characters (not to mention the stage directions) can be done With work, including LISTENING and SAYING THE WORDS ALOUD, understanding the language and the mental/emotional state of the characters (not to mention the stage directions) can be done


Download ppt "Shakespearean Verse Scansion: Meaning and the Actor’s Guide."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google