Evolution of Verse Form, Plots and Characters in English Plays (mid-16th to mid-19th centuries)

  • Marina Tarlinskaja Department of Linguistics, University of Washington, Seattle, Box 354340 Seattle, WA 98195-4340
Keywords: English dramatic iambic pentameter, evolution of grand styles, evolution of versification styles


The aim of this essay is to demonstrate how the rhythmical evolution of English dramatic iambic pentameter parallelled the changes of aesthetic tastes and social values of English society from the mid-sixteenth to mid-nineteenth century. During 250 years the evolution of such features as the abundance or absence of enjambments, the use of constrained or loose iambs, and some others corresponds to the changes in the architecture of the theaters, the social structure of the audience, the manners of declamation, the complexity of poetic language, and the types of characters and plots the playwrights used.


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