Table of Contents page
2.3Enjambment and End-stopped Line4
5Verse and Prose in Romeo and Juliet7
5.1Functions of the Use of Prose7
5.1.1Function of Variation7
5.1.5Comic Effect-Increasing Function9
5.1.6Function of Suggesting Mental Instability10
5.2Reasons for the Use of Verse10
5.2.4Function of the Sonnet Form12
In this day and age, modern drama is usually composed in prose language and consists of everyday speech. If a play is written in verse language after all, it might even have an alienating effect on some members of the audience. In William Shakespeare’s time, however, the use of verse language in drama was not at all against the audience’s expectations and much more common than prose. Still, Shakespeare tried to combine both styles in his plays and thus developed his own techniques to unite two completely different modes of speech. Since the distribution of verse and prose language in Shakespeare’s plays is far from being arbitrary, I am not only going to analyse the difference between both styles, but also the reasons for their occurrence using examples of the well-known tragedy Romeo and Juliet.
In order to be able to recognize verse and prose language in Shakespeare’s plays, one needs to be familiar with certain technical terms. While the characteristics which are described below appear in verse language frequently, they cannot be found in...