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Author Study: Oscar Wilde Curated by Emily Liu '23: Repetition

Repetition in De Profundis

“I will begin by telling you that I blame myself terribly… I blame myself. In the perturbed and fitful nights… it is myself I blame. I blame myself for allowing an unintellectual friendship…”


    Oscar Wilde repeated the phrase “I blame myself” for four times in this paragraph. The repetition shows a great amount of guilt Wilde has towards his friendship with Douglas. The repeating of this phrase also shows a great amount of sorrow and pain Oscar Wilde now hold with him.

Repetition in The Picture of Dorian Gray

“The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.”

Negative-Positive restatement:

    This is a specific type of repetition that Oscar Wilde used in his work. This type of repetition is called a “negative-positive restatement”. It’s when the sentence first expresses a negative idea, then repeat it in a positive sense. In this case, Oscar Wilde first say that old age is a tragedy (negative), then he say that it’s a tragedy not because of old, but young (positive).

Repetition in The Nightingale and The Rose

“She passes through the grove like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed across the garden.”


    The order of the words now repeated in reverse just to emphasize how the nightingale passes through the dark quiet as a shadow. “Like a shadow” helped the readers to imagine the smooth and swift motion this nightingale has while she flies.

Repetition in The Canterville Ghost

“… that you must weep with me for my sins, because I have no tears, and pray with me for my soul, because I have no faith…”


    As the ghost of Canterville asked Virginia to pray for him, he repeated the same sentence structure of how a ghost has no faith along side with tears. The ghost is a creature with certain humane characteristics but certainly not human. This makes the readers hold great sympathy on the ghost because he is not totally evil but he can’t repent for what he did when he’s alive.

Repetition In Wilde's poem

“I remember I never could catch you”

“I remember your hair”

“I remember so well the room”


    The repetition of “remember” shows how the person is immersed in their memory and past. All the details remembered by the narrator shows the deep love to his lover. The first two remember all follows with physical contact between the narrator and the lover. This shows their close relationship and the intimacy between them.