Essay on Shakespeare's Rhyme Scheme

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William Shakespeare’s “Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore” is an English sonnet about the nature of time, in which Shakespeare both follows and deviates from the traditional sonnet form. Reading the poem with this in mind gives the poem an additional dimension, bringing the reader to consider why this has been done, and how it impacts the poem’s meaning. Shakespeare has modeled the external structure of the poem to coincide with this message that time is a destructive force whose wrath is unavoidable, and this is evident upon examination of his use of a consistent rhyme scheme, his employment of occasional trochees and spondees, and his adherence to the structure of three quatrains and a couplet. This poem …show more content…
In the very first line, however, Shakespeare strays from this form, instead using a trochee in the words “like as”, placing the emphasis on the first syllable instead of the second, and drawing attention to the simile he is making (1). The second line also begins with a trochee in the words “so do,” and together, these two lines create the effect of a building attack by the destructive force of time (Shakespeare). This attack peaks in the third line, when Shakespeare employs a spondee, followed by regular iambs, in the words “each changing place with that which goes before.” Just like time rises up and assails humanity, the trochees and spondee have done so to the poem’s rhythm, paralleling time’s power and force. Shakespeare uses another trochee in line six, in the words “crawls to,” followed by a second one in line seven, in the word “crooked,” and a third in line nine, in the words “Time doth,” each of which achieves a similar, albeit less intense, effect of attack through emphasis. Finally, in the last line of the poem, Shakespeare uses a trochee and a spondee back-to-back in the phrase “praising thy worth,” the only place in which he does this (14). This not only emphasizes the fact that this poem is addressed to Shakespeare’s love, but the fact that this line is unique from the others mirrors how there has been a shift in Shakespeare’s perspective on time. This shift in Shakespeare’s feelings

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