Shakespeare wrote most of the lines in his plays in blank verse, which is unrhymed iambic pentameter.
An iamb is a unit of rhythm consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The words “annoy,” “fulfill,” ‘”pretend,” “regard,” and “serene” are all iambs because the first syllable of each word is unstressed (or unaccented) and the second syllable is stressed (or accented).
Iambs can also consist of one word with a single unstressed (unaccented) syllable followed by another word with a single stressed (accented) syllable.
When a line has five iambs, it is in iambic pentameter. The prefix “pent” means five. The suffix “meter” (in “pentameter”) refers to the recurrence of a rhythmic unit (also called a “foot”). Thus, because the lines contain iambs, they are “iambic.” Because they contain five iambs (five feet), they are said to be in iambic pentameter.
Here are the rules for SONNETS:
It must consist of 14 lines.
It must be written in iambic pentameter (duh-DUH-duh-DUH-duh-DUH-duh-DUH-duh-DUH).
It must be written in one of various standard rhyme schemes.
Three quatrains (that is, four consecutive lines of verse that make up a stanza or division of lines in a poem) and one couplet (two consecutive rhyming lines of verse)
A sonnet is also an argument — it builds up a certain way. How it builds up is related to its metaphors and how it moves from one metaphor to the next. In a Shakespearean sonnet, the argument builds up like this:
First quatrain: An exposition of the main theme and main metaphor.
Second quatrain: Theme and metaphor extended or complicated; often, some imaginative example is given.
Third quatrain: Peripeteia (a twist or conflict), often introduced by a “but” (very often leading off the ninth line).
Couplet: Summarizes and leaves the reader with a new, concluding image.