e.g. "Cecil Graham: What is a cynic?
Lord Darlington: A man who knows the price of
everything and the value of nothing". (p.72)
Thus we can make a conclusion that syntactical expressive means and stylistic devices play an important role in Wilde's style. Wilde is a talented writer who can make us feel the way he wants us to feel. This co-existence is built up so subtly, that the reader remains unaware of the process. It is still stronger when the aesthetic function begin to manifest itself clearly and unequivocally through a gradual increase in intensity, in the foregrounding of certain features, repetitions, of certain syntactical patterns and in the broken rhythm of the author's mode of narrating events, facts and situations.
One can find different syntactical expressive means and stylistic devices in Wilde's plays such as parallel constructions, repetition, chiasmus, antithesis and many others. These expressive means help the author to create his clear-cut and elegant style, to give rhythm to his language. They give a musical value to every phrase.
Wilde's writing is skilful, playing, and understandable to everybody. It has a great charm and brilliancy of the author's personality.
Thus, in the English language not only lexical expressive means and stylistic devices butalso syntactical expressive means and stylistic devices are used. Considering these stylistic devices and expressive means and their characteristic features we should say that out of the number of features which are clear in the styles, some should be considered primary, others-secondary. They are not equal in their significance, some of them bear reference to the main importance, others are widely used in everyday speech.
Having analysed the four plays of Oscar Wilde: "Lady Windermere's Fan", "A Woman of No Importance", "An Ideal Husband", "The Importance of Being Earnest", I came to a conclusion that it is not an easy task to single them out.
Some of them make the speech of the characters vivid, interesting, humorous, ironical, emotional, understandable ; they reflect their thoughts and feelings.
The following tables give us an idea of the frequency of the usage of all expressive means and stylistic devices tackled in this diploma paper.
Table № 1
EMs and SDs The volume of the book (pp) %
Lexical 360 70%
Syntactical 360 30%
This table shows that Wilde resorts to the use of lexical expressive means and stylistic devices more than to the use of syntactical ones. According to this table we can make a conclusion that lexical stylistic devices prevail in Wilde's plays.
The following table shows the frequency of the usage of the most used lexical EMs and SDs in O.Wilde's plays.
Table № 2
№ EMs and SDs The volume of the book(pp) %
1 Epigram and paradox 360 30 %
2 Irony and pun 360 20%
3 epithet 360 16%
4 metaphor 360 11%
5 simile 360 10%
6 hyperbole 360 8%
7 metonymy 360 5%
Thus, we can see that Wilde pays much attention to epigrams and paradoxes which are his most favourite lexical stylistic devices.
The next table shows the frequency of the usage of syntactical expressive means and stylistic devices in O.Wilde's plays.
Table № 3
№ EMs and SDs The volume of the book(pp) %
1 antithesis 360 28%
2 Parallel constructions 360 25%
3 repetition 360 20%
4 chiasmus 360 15%
5 enumeration 360 9%
6 inversion 360 3%
O.Wilde resorts to the use of syntactical stylistic devices , and the most favourite of them is antithesis.
As it is seen from the tables the number of all stylistic devices is not equal. But all of them are based on the effect of defeated expectancy. All these stylistic devices are accompanied by one and the same stylistic phenomenon, which creates a single - whole - Oscar Wilde's brilliant style. At the same time stylistic devices reflect various kinds of phenomena: everyday events, strange happenings, social reality and fantasy. They are all vital in creating a social atmosphere of those times.
For example, the sentence "In England a man who cannot talk morality twice a week to a large, popular, immoral audience is quite over as a serious politician.", shows clearly the English Society of that time.
Some stylistic devices are rarely used in O.Wilde's plays: chiasmus, inversion, metonymy and others.
I do not think it testifies to their rare occurrence in English in general. It is evidence of O.Wilde's private likes and dislikes as an artist.
Oscar Wilde has no rival in the brilliancy of his dialogue. There seems to be no plot in his plays - only brilliant performance of witty remarks.
"The plots are slight, and mainly serve as thin thread holding together the large collection of gay, brightly coloured decorations that are his epigrams."35
The plays produce an unforgettable impression not only due to the context but also to a great extent, I am sure, due to the author's language, his individual style in which the use of stylistic expressive means and stylistic devices is the very important part.
The fact that none of his comedies has lost its aesthetic value now, proves that the secret of their long life lies in Wilde's brilliant style and in his individuality.
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