Blank verse is composed of ten syllable lines which do not rhyme. The rhythm is made up of five sets of ‘di dum’ (light stress, heavy stress) paired syllables, which are called ‘iambic’. Because there are five sets of syllable pairs, notated ˡˇ ˉ ˡ and called ‘feet’, the meter is referred to as pentameter. Hence the name ‘iambic pentameter’. The iambic pattern reflects the natural cadence of the English language.
Here is a line of iambic pentameter from ‘Othello’:
‘Desdemona: But that our loves and comforts should increase’ (ˡˇ ˉ ˡ ˇ ˉ ˡ ˇ ˉ ˡ ˇ ˉ ˡ ˇ ˉ ˡ )
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