In general, to scan is to look intently at all parts of a verse in a poetry successively. Therefore, in prosody, Scansion refers to metrical scanning of verse, because it analyzes the metrical pattern of a poem through stressed and unstressed syllables.
When a unit of verse- a foot, line or a stanza is scanned with the help of symbols the metre can be seen as well as heard.
In classical poetry, these patterns are quantitative based on the different lengths of each syllable. (stressed or unstressed in a verse or a line of poetry)
We make use of few symbols in order to scan a passage in verse (and sometimes also in a prose).
Let’s understand all the symbols through a table
|Symbol||Name of the symbol||Purpose|
|/||The acute accent syllable||Metrically stressed|
|U||The brave||Metrically wear syllable|
||||A single line||Division between feet|
|||||A double line||Caesura or pause|
|^||A rest||A syllable, metrically expected but not actually present|
‘/’ represents the stressed syllable while ‘U’ represents the unstressed syllable in a verse or a line of a poetry.