Definition and Examples of Conduplicatio in Rhetoric

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Conduplicatio is a rhetorical term for the repetition of one or more words in successive clauses. Also called reduplicatio or reduplication.

According to the Rhetorica ad Herennium (c. 90 BC), the purpose of conduplicatio is usually either amplification or an appeal to pity.

Examples and Observations

"Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the flowers gone?
Long time ago.
Where have all the flowers gone?
Girls have picked them every one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?"

(Pete Seeger and Joe Hickerson, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?")

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."

(Winston Churchill)

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

(Jesus, Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:3-10)

"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."

(Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have a Dream," 1963)

"Then thou thy regal Sceptre shalt lay be,
For regal Sceptre then no more shall need,
God shall be All in All. But all ye Gods,
Adore him, who to compass all this dies,
Adore the Son, an honor him as mee."

(John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book III, lines 339-343)

"Now the trumpet summons us again--not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--not as a call to battle, though embattled we are--but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, 'rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation,' a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself."

(President John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, 1961)

Multiple Cases of Duplicatio

Cases of conduplicatio can be combined, as in this fine case where several nouns and modifiers (empire, revenue, army, worst) are repeated to create a tightly wound effect:
I allow, indeed, that the Empire of Germany raises her revenue and her troops by quotas and contingents; but the revenue of the Empire and the army of the Empire is the worst revenue and the worst army in the world.
[Edmund] Burke, Speech on Conciliation With the Colonies, 1775
The double use of conduplicatio. A classic pattern in the use of this scheme involves two initial claims, each of which is then repeated with elaboration or reasons for it....
We are dregs and scum, sir: the dregs very filthy, the scum very superior.
[George Bernard] Shaw, Man and Superman, 1903

(Ward Farnsworth, Farnsworth's Classical English Rhetoric. David R. Godine, 2011)

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Nordquist, Richard. "Definition and Examples of Conduplicatio in Rhetoric." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Nordquist, Richard. (2021, February 16). Definition and Examples of Conduplicatio in Rhetoric. Retrieved from Nordquist, Richard. "Definition and Examples of Conduplicatio in Rhetoric." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 5, 2023).