The Use of Verse and Prose in Romeo&Juliet

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The Use of Prose and Verse in Romeo&Juliet

Table of Contents page

2Technical terms3
2.3Enjambment and End-stopped Line4
2.5Rhyme Scheme5
4.1Rhymed verse6
4.2Blank Verse6
4.3Free Verse7
5Verse and Prose in Romeo and Juliet7
5.1Functions of the Use of Prose7
5.1.1Function of Variation7
5.1.2Class-Differing Function8
5.1.3Empathy-Creating Function8
5.1.4Realness-Creating Function9
5.1.5Comic Effect-Increasing Function9
5.1.6Function of Suggesting Mental Instability10
5.2Reasons for the Use of Verse10
5.2.1Class-Differing Function10
5.2.2Emphasizing Function11
5.2.3Structuring Function11
5.2.4Function of the Sonnet Form12
7.1Primary Literature14
7.2Secondary Literature14

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.

Technical terms
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...
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