OK, using the past two days’ entries as a launching pad (combined with a second, closer reading of the play), just what does the meter of the play tell us specifically?
In terms of pronunciation, quite a bit actually…
The play is set in a town called Ephesus, and that’s pronounced EF-ah-SUSS (or EF-eh-SUSS), NOT eh-FEE-suss … throughout the play the iambic pentameter stresses fall on the first and third syllables.
Another town mentioned in the play is Epidamnum, and through the stresses in the lines, we know it’s pronounced EH-pi-DAM-num.
Daddy Egeon’s name is pronounced eh-GEE-on, not EE-gee-ON.
Son Antipholus’ name is pronounced an-TI-fuh-LUSS, not AN-tee-FO-luss.
but here’s the most interesting one…
Dromio is pronounced DROM-yo, not DRO-mi-O… it may appear to be a three-syllable name, but it’s a two-syllable name. EVERY TIME. Throughout the play. Except for once in the final scene, in which the twins try to convince the Duke who’s the real (i.e., Ephesian) Dromio:
DROMIO OF SYRACUSE
/ ~ ~ / ~ / ~ / ~ /
I, sir, am Dromio; command him away.
DROMIO OF EPHESUS
/ ~ ~ / ~/ ~ / ~ /
I, sir, am Dromio; pray, let me stay.
In DE’s response, he stretcccccccches out his name to make a point –an Ephesian striving for emphasis.
that wordplay there is just lame, I am chagrined to realize now… it sounded so much better in my head than on the page… sorry.
So we’ve got some examples of how scansion can help the casual reader… tomorrow let’s begin looking at scansion from a directorial and performing perspective.