Meter in Othello
As in many of his plays, Shakespeare employs a combination of prose and blank verse—unrhymed pentameter—in Othello. Characters of lower class tend to speak in rough prose in contrast to those of higher standing who speak in verse. Occasionally, Shakespeare uses metrical moves to create a specific effect. For example, in Act V Othello exclaims, “My wife! My wife! What wife? I have no wife!” In the series of monosyllabic words, “wife” falls on four of the line’s five stressed beats, creating a powerful pulse which underscores Othello’s crisis as he reconsiders his relationship with Desdemona.