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date: 22 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Using examples from Shakespeare’s early, middle, and late plays and from his Tragedies, Comedies, and Histories, this chapter charts developments and explores patterns in Shakespeare’s dramatic verse line across the genres and time span of his writing career. It examines incidences of end-stopping and enjambment, mid-line breaks, shared, short, and long verse lines, considering the ways in which these relate to the subject matter of scenes and may function as a means of reflecting a character’s emotional or mental state. The chapter draws on evidence from Renaissance prosodic accounts, printed texts, theatrical papers, and evidence relating to early modern theatre practice and considers the ways in which the features of the dramatic line are interpreted by modern theatre practitioners.

Keywords: verse, lineation, Renaissance acting, modern acting, enjambment, end-stopping, folio, cue-parts, quartos

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