presented by Acoustic Learning

About Scansion

Scansion's value is not to impose a rigid structure onto verse, but to reveal the natural rhythms that its language can produce.  The purpose of scanning verse is, tehrefore, to make the rhythm of its language visible on the page.  The goal of using scansion for analysis is to determine a rhythmical pattern that feels completely natural to say aloud.

Shakespeare's plays feature both verse and prose.  Prose is not rhythmical and, therefore, is not scanned.

Every scan given here is just one way to "solve" the verse lines.  Other valid rhythms may be possible.  Suggestions for alternatives are welcomed!

The Shakespeare texts used on this site are based primarily on the First Folio and its punctuation.  Spelling is modernized, with five exceptions:  ore, ere, nere, eene, and tane.  These words are Old English variants of over, ever, never, even, and taken. These five words are typically represented in modern texts as o'er, e're, ne'er, e'en, and ta'en; however, in Old English, these words were used when a writer wanted one syllable instead of two, and the Old English spelling makes their one-syllable intention clear.