How does Oscar Wilde use language in his story “The Nightingale and the Rose”?

Oscar Wilde uses language poetically and melodiously in his story “The Nightingale and the Rose.”

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In his short story “The Nightingale and the Rose,” Oscar Wilde uses language poetically. The text features literary devices often found in poems. One such device is the simile. A simile is when an author compares two unlike things to each other using like, as ,...

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In his short story “The Nightingale and the Rose,” Oscar Wilde uses language poetically. The text features literary devices often found in poems. One such device is the simile. A simile is when an author compares two unlike things to each other using like, as, or another comparison term. When the Nightingale first spots the young Student, she compares his dark hair to the “hyacinth-blossom,” his red lips to the “rose of his desire,” and his passion to “pale ivory.” The poetic language supplies a vivid image of the Student and conveys the visceral impact that love has left on him.

Like a lot of poems, Oscar Wilde’s short story has rhythm. It’s possible to say that Wilde uses language melodiously. To create melody, Wilde relies on repetition. Throughout his tale, Wilde repeats words and phrases, which infuses the story with a singsong quality. When the creatures want to know why the Student is crying, the little Green Lizard asks, “Why?” The Butterfly and the Daisy ask, “Why, indeed?” Why is repeated three times, and indeed is repeated twice. The Nightingale’s reply results in further repetition. The Nightingale responds, “He is weeping for a red rose.” The three creatures then cry out, “For a red rose!”

Aside from poetically and musically, one might contend that Wilde uses language philosophically. His capitalization of Love, Power, Life, and Death indicates that Wilde is thinking about these concepts in a profound way. Their uppercase status suggests that Wilde is digging deeper and going beyond their ordinary meaning as common nouns. The ending advances the claim that Wilde uses language philosophically since the conclusion arguably contains a weighty comment on love, sacrifice, and resignation.

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