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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: June ::
Re: Rhyming
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0648.  Tuesday, 10 June 1997.

[1]     From:   Harry Hill <
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        Date:   Monday, 09 Jun 1997 07:29:38 +0000 (HELP)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0647  Q:

[2]     From:   Joseph Tate <
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        Date:   Monday, 9 Jun 1997 18:33:11 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0647  Qs: Rhyming


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Harry Hill <
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Date:           Monday, 09 Jun 1997 07:29:38 +0000 (HELP)
Subject: 8.0647  Q: Rhyming
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0647  Q: Rhyming

The Sassenachs south of Hadrian's Wall have always seemed to have
appropriated the whole ruddy island. When Elizabeth was crowned at the
opening of the fifties, there were many households in Scotland bearing
celebratory shields proclaiming E I of Scotland and II of England. It
was still all but impossible to get a BBC job without a "London" accent,
and the successful Scots actors (Andrew Cruickshank, Duncan Macrae,
Alastair Sim etc.) either had to appear in Scots plays or amend their
modes of speech to be considered acceptable, ins spite of the fact that
greatly celebrated Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson sported what the
English errob erroneously called a "brogue".

Unhappily, as can be seen form this posting, I learned typing on the
salt-edged North-East Scottish coast...

        Harry Hill

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Joseph Tate <
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Date:           Monday, 9 Jun 1997 18:33:11 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 8.0647  Qs: Rhyming
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0647  Qs: Rhyming

Ron Dwelle writes:

> Looking at the rhyming in Othello (Iago to Desdemona, Brabantio & the
> Duke), I'm wondering if, in Shakespeare's day, this would have
> represented a typical kind of English discourse, an "elite" type of
> English discourse, or rather something that only the super subtle
> Venetians would engage in.

Rhyming, at least in Shakespeare's plays, was not limited to the
Venetians. Coriolanus speaks in heroic couplets in 2.3.113-124. Various
characters in *Henry V* end speeches with a series of heroic couplets:
King Henry in 1.2.307-310, again in 2.2.192-193, again in 3.3.42-43 and
57-58, etc.  Nearly the entire scene of 5.6 between King Henry,
Northumberland, Fitzwater, Percy and Exton of *Richard II* is in heroic
couplets. *Midsummer Night's Dream* is replete with couplets, abab
quatrains and other rhyme schemes. Romeo and Juliet exchange a rhymed
sonnet in 1.5. Hamlet ends his soliloquies in 2.2 and 4.4 with couplets.

The list goes on. Criticism has not been able to single out,
satisfactorily, a definitive character type that rhyme is limited to.
Much study has been done on the distinction between prose and verse in
the plays, but little seems to be around that concerns the distinction
between blank verse and couplets or rhymed verse, a distinction arguably
easier to perceive in performance.

I hope this is of some help...

Joseph Tate
U. of Washington
 

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