William Shakespeare

Iambic pentameter

When Shakespeare wrote in verse, he most often used a form called iambic pentameter. Iamb, or iambic foot, is a poetic unit of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (de-DUM.) Pentameter is the Greek word for five. Therefore, iambic pentameter contains five iambs, each two syllables long, for a total of ten syllables.