Honor English IV
The Use of Sound in Shakespeares Sonnets
by Barbara Herrnstein Smith
This article argues that Shakespeare’s use of the meter, or general structure of sounds, in his poetry is as significant to his style as his metaphors, figurative language, and images. Shakespeare used developed techniques, however, he executed them more effectively.
Shakespeare was able to execute the iambic to sound natural, similar to natural speech, rather than artificial and mechanical, as it usually sounds. Shakespeare was also able to manipulate words to create musical sounds with combinations and repetitions of vowel and consonant sounds.
The article states that Shakespeare was able to master the musical potentialities of the language. This was perfectly executed through his use of complex distributions of phonetic elements, and operating with the internal rhythm, producing the true harmony of well-tuned sounds.
Also, Shakespeare was able to manipulate the iambic meter to sound similar to natural speech. Traditional iambic meter poetry has a tendency to sound artificial and mechanical. However, Shakespeare was skillful enough to dominate the techniques of English poetry and, thus, was able to avoid the distorted natural emphasis of speech and evaded the mechanical regularity of thumping in such poetry.
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