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One Verse Every Week 'SPONDEE'

Updated: Jun 12, 2021

To invite attention and induce excitement— irregular feet [SPONDEE]

Like an iamb and a trochee, a spondee, too, is a type of foot in a metrical feet. In a spondee one stressed syllable follows another stressed syllable. To write a poem using only stressed syllables would be quite a task; so, spondees, typically, are used by poets as an irregular foot in a metre and are referred to as an irregular feet.

Cry, cry! Troy burns, or else let Helen go.

Cry cry | Troy burns | or else | let Hel | en go

In this example, from Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, there are two spondees one after the other and this is called a dispondee. When poets break a metrical pattern it is with a purpose; the break informs the audience (in the case of a play) and/or the reader of a shift in emotion or mood in the play or poem.

In Romeo and Juliet Lady Capulet says:

Fie, fie! What are you mad?

Fie fie | What are | you mad

The word fie is an exclamation, and in this case by having the word repeated as a spondee, Shakespeare breaks his usual metrical pattern by being emphatic about the situation to inform and engage with his audience.



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