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Shakespeare Verse and Prose, Kim Ballard
Assigning verse or prose to characters
“A play’s genre was one of the factors that influenced the use of prose or verse in Shakespeare’s drama, but so too were the characters and the situations they found themselves in. When earlier Elizabethan dramatists first began to use prose as well as verse in comic drama, prose was regarded as suitable for comic or low status characters, while verse was retained for those of high status. But quite early on in his career, Shakespeare began to deviate from this convention. In The Taming of the Shrew (composed 1593–94) there is a delightful moment between the two lovers, Katherina and Petruchio, once they are married and Katherine (the shrew) has finally been ‘tamed’:
KATHERINA Husband, let’s follow, to see the end of this ado.
PETRUCHIO First kiss me, Kate, and we will.
KATHERINA What, in the midst of the street?
PETRUCHIO What, art thou ashamed of me?
KATHERINA No, sir, God forbid, but asham’d to kiss.
PETRUCHIO Why then let’s home again. Come, sirrah, let’s away.
KATHERINE Nay, I will give thee a kiss; now pray thee, love, stay.
Throughout their tense courtship, the couple have spoken in blank verse (as befits their high social rank), but here the relaxation into prose signals a shift in their relationship and reflects the new intimacy between them.”
The Iambic Pentameter is described too.
There are lots of useful articles about Shakespeare and his plays.