Iambic pentameter

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Iambic pentameter is a line of poetic meter, made up of five iambic feet. In classical poetry an iambic foot is a short syllable follwed by a longer syllable, but in English poetry it is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable, as in the word again. An example of a line in iambic pentameter would therefore be "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day", where the accent falls on the syllables I, -pare, to, sum- and day.

The most famous usage of iambic pentameter is in the sonnet and in the Elizabethan verse plays of Marlowe and Shakespeare.