Shakespeare uses blank verse throughout Twelfth Night. However, he often deviates from a textbook-perfect definition of unrhymed iambic pentameter. You'll catch him rhyming two lines, starting a line with a stressed syllable instead of an unstressed one, breaking up a line between two different characters, or using nine or eleven syllables instead of ten. Shakespeare does this for a variety of reasons, such as to emphasize a particular word, to express a certain emotion, or to speed up or slow down the pace of a speech.

For this discussion, pick 1-2 lines from act 2 where you notice one of these variations in blank verse, and post a message responding to these questions:
         What's the variation?
         Why do you think Shakespeare placed the variation in this particular spot?
         How does the variation contribute to the development of the scene and/or the character(s)?

Be sure to include the lines themselves at the beginning of your answer so your classmates know what part of the text you're analyzing.  For this prompt, you do not have to reply to a classmate.

Refer to the PDF below for more information about blank verse (of if you missed class).
blankversenotes.pdf
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Kelti Lorence
12/7/2012 10:42:32 am

"What will become fo this? As I am man,/ My state is desperate for my master's love; / As I am woman, now alas the day!"

The first and third lines have ten syllables, while the second has eleven syllables.

During these three lines, Shakespear seems to add the extra syllable to emphasize Viola's main conflict. The add-in lands on her "desperate state for her master's love".

Viola recently realized Olivia's crush on her; however, she is a girl simply pretending to be a guy. An emphasis here is necessary to force the reader to pay attention to these three lines of sorrow and drama.

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Celeste Yahr
12/7/2012 05:25:56 pm

"O Time, thou must untangle this, not I / It is too hard a knot for me t' untie."

One variation is that the second line has 11 syllables. Another is that the end of these two lines rhyme.

I think that Shakespeare placed the rhyme here so that it flows and because it is at the end of a scene it makes it more memorable.

Earlier in the scene Viola puts it all together, that Olivia has fallen in love with her/him. These last two lines are her being completely honest saying that she can't figure this one out by herself. It's not something she can fix she is giving it to the fates. Shakespeare used this couplet to show Viola in a state of dismay. It helps you to connect with her more because everyone has those problems they can't fix. It gives the character depth.

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12/8/2012 02:28:20 pm

"To her in haste. Give her this jewel. Say/ My love can give no place, bide no denay."

The variation here is very obvious; the last words of each line rhyme.

Shakespeare most likely placed this variation here in order to signal the end of a scene, but he may have had more complex reasons for the variation as well. It is possible that it is present to emphasize possible foreshadowing (as the reader knows by this point that Olivia is in love with Viola's cover, Cesario), as well as Orsino's obsession with Olivia.

The variation aids in the ending of the scene, but it also establishes something about the characters. Viola has just finished telling Orsino the story of "his sister," but these lines make it clear that Orsino has no interest in anything but Olivia, and he will not be denied. The variation emphasizes this point. In this way, the departure from blank verse reiterates the point made earlier in the scene (regarding the way men, and particularly Orsino, love).

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Mary Sine
12/9/2012 07:19:18 am

And so they are. Alas, that they are so,/ To die even when they to perfection grow!

The variation it that this is a heroic couplet, with the last two words of each line rhyming. Another variation is the second line having 11 syllables

Shakespeare placed this variation here to emphasize Orsino's point, about women losing their beauty quickly, and Viola's reaction to it, saying those two lines somewhat sadly.

This adds to the scene because it does emphasize Viola's reaction to Orsino telling her how men love. It contributes to the development of characters because earlier in the scene we learned from Orsino that men, especially him, are fickle in love and lose interest quickly. And Viola's reaction is somewhat lamenting and sad because she wonders if Orsino could ever love her as she loves him.

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Megan Wall
12/9/2012 01:13:12 pm

Act 2: Scene IV, "A blank, my lord. She never told her love,/ But let concealment, like a worm I' the bud,/ Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought."

The middle line deviates from the former and following line's rhythm of ten beats by adding an extra syllable.

Shakespeare added this variation in middle of Viola's reply to Orsino, when she speaks to him about her cousin that never told a guy about her love for him
Which leads me to believe that he broke from the ten syllables to draw attention to the irony of what Viola was telling Orsino.

This break from the traditional iambic pentameter developes Viola & the irony of her postion as an eunuch for the man she secretly loves.

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Brady
12/9/2012 03:50:34 pm

Act. II sc. IV "And so they are. Alas, that they are so,/ To die even when to perfection grow!"

Shakespeare rhyme the ending of these two lines and also has a pause in the middle of the first line.

This shows the irony of the conversation between Viola/Cesario and Orsino. He is saying that women fall in love to easy and that they should take a husband older than them because they are only beautiful or so long. She/He, being in love with him, agrees with everything he says cause she/he is exactly what Orsino is talking about.

This line brings about more suspense, humor, and irony to the whole situation. Viola/Cesario is giving love advice to Orsino who she is in love with and Orsino is educating her/him about love.

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Trevor
12/9/2012 04:35:38 pm

“But come what may, I do adore thee so / that danger shall seem sport, and I will go.”

Lines 46 and 47 of act II scene 1 are an example of a heroic couplet. Antonio is saying that he will follow Sebastian into Orsino’s court even though he has many enemies there, just for the fun of it. Shakespare placed this variation here because it is the last two lines of the scene and he wanted to have a smooth closing to the scene. I think this heroic couplet draws attention to Antonio’s recklessness.

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Jacob Jones
12/9/2012 07:18:08 pm

“O Time, thou must untangle this, not I. / It is too hard a knot for me t’ untie.”

The Variation of the lines is that the first line has nine syllables and the second line has eleven syllables, also the last words of each line rhyme.

Shakespeare placed the variation in this particular spot because it is at the end of a scene and he wanted it to rhyme, and have a smooth ending.

I think that the variation contributes the scene because the lines mean that Viola is going to try to figure out what is going on. Viola wants to untangle everything that is happening with Orsino.

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Kendall
12/9/2012 07:23:20 pm

Act ll Scene 1: "Stealing and giving odor./ Enough, no more."

Line six of this scene is an example of caesura, or a natural pause that falls in the middle of the line instead of the end. I believe Shakespeare placed this pause in the middle of this line to really highlight that change in mood of Orsino. Previous to him saying "Enough", Orsino talks of the beauty of this song that the Fool sung, how "Oh, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound,
That breathes upon a bank of violets". He then switches his mood to more aggressive by saying "Enough, no more".

This pause contributes to the rest of the scene because in the following lines Orsino describes how love doesn't last forever and it can be gone in seconds, "Tis not so sweet now as it was before."

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Jonathon D.
12/10/2012 02:31:28 am

"For women are as roses, whose fair flower,/ Being once displayed, doth fall that very hour."

The variation here is that Shakespeare rhymes the last two words of each line.

I think Shakespeare put this rhyming sequence in this spot because he is saying that once women are in "full bloom" they start to loose their beauty.

Orsino wants to marry someone that is younger than him based on his believe of women and his belief of their beauty.

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Hannah H
12/10/2012 03:25:29 am

“for women are as roses, whose fair flower,/Being once displayed, doth fall that very hour.”
Lines 44 and 45 of Act 2 Scene 4 are and example of a heroic couplet. Orsino is saying that women are only attractive for a short period of time, and that men’s love(like his) does not last long. I think Shakespeare placed this variation here to emphasize the irony of the conversation between Orsino and Viola. This contributes to the rest of the scene because it adds to the tension between Orsino and Viola and their love as well as with the audience who knows what is happening.

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Emily
12/10/2012 04:12:42 am

"And so they are. Alas, that they are so,/ To die even when to perfection grow!"
The variation is that he rhymed the two lines, so it's a heroic couplet.

Shakespeare placed the variation there so that the irony of Viola saying that to Orsino about women when she was one would stand out more.

The variation contributes by helping the person experience the play get the sort of joke that Shakespeare was making there by pointing it out.

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Mackenzie Cyr
12/10/2012 04:16:56 pm

"That it alone is high fantastical."

The variation here is that it is a simple line that doesn't necessarily rhyme, but flows.

I think that Shakespeare placed this variation here because it was the end of a scene and provided a plain statement for readers to ponder.

The variation contributes by allowing the reader to understand the point or statement that Orsino was trying to see without having to read into it too much or get too deep.

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Ariana
12/12/2012 04:41:36 pm

"For women are as roses, whose fair flower,/ Being once displayed, doth fall that very hour."
The variation is that Shakespeare uses a rhyme at the end of the line, flower and hour.
Shakespeare uses this variation to make the reader remember this line more clearly and to emphasize the conversation between Orsinio and Viola.
The variation contributes by enabling the reader to understand the lines/ message more in depth and allowing the reader to remember the message.

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Carley Crow
12/13/2012 07:10:21 am

Act II Scene II
Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we!/For such as we are made of, such we be./How will this fadge? my master loves her dearly,/And I, poor monster, fond as much on him.
The variation used is first a heroic couplet (10 syllables per line) then switched up to 11 syllables for the next line, then back to 10.
Shakespeare uses a heroic couplet to adress Viola's thoughts and the reason for Olivia's love. By then switching up the next line to 11 syllables, he is highlighting Viola's own problem and then switching back to 10 lines because Viola can relate with Olivia (heroic couplet) and their irrational love that they both can't have.
This variation helps the reader really get in to Viola's shoes and really understand how she feels about everything that is going on.

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Mika
12/13/2012 09:46:42 am

"By your patience, no; my stars/shine darkly over me; the malignancy of my fate..."

Shakepeare broke the rythym so his aduiance would pay more closely attention to what is happening and what is important about this scene for him to break the rythym. The importance is this is where Sebastian first arrives and we learn he is alive

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Tristan
12/13/2012 05:41:54 pm

"For women are as roses, whose fair flower,
being once displayed, doth fall that very hour."

Shakespeare rhymed these two lines with the "our" sound. He also uses eleven syllables in the second line instead of the standard ten of blank verse.
I think he rhymed them to add a poetic sound to this already poetic statement. Rhyme is often - and accurately - associated with poetry. The eleventh syllable in the second line was probably placed to lend weight and finality.
This deviation from blank verse lends itself well to the remorseful mood of Orsino as he laments over his hopeless love. The poetic theme of these lines make it just that much better to the audience.

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Lacayah
12/15/2012 06:38:40 am

The variation that stands out to me is at the end of almost every scene. This variation is rhyming the last two lines of most scenes. For example, in act 2 scene 2, Shakespeare writes "But come what may, I do adore thee so / That danger shall seem sport, and I will go." Another example is at the end of the next scene where Viola says "O Time, thou must untangle this, not I. / It is too hard a knot for me t' untie." I think that Shakespear placed the variations in this spot to draw attention to it as a sort of "last word." I also believe that these variations don't neccessarily contribute to the scene that they are in. They more contribute to the future scenes by foreshadowing.

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10/25/2013 07:08:23 pm

Thanks for a great read.

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