Without dialogue, characters would have a hard time speaking to each other, but what happens when a seemingly unimportant line is repeated later in the story? All of a sudden, it has a deeper meaning ...
The Meaningful Echo - A line of dialogue that is repeated later on in the story, often used to give more impact to an ordinary line. Some heartwarming, emotional, or awesomeness typically ensues when executed well.
Did you know this trope has made its way into just about everything, and yet it never gets old? Typically a villain will say it first, repeated by the hero when he's about to win the day. That's almost cliché, these days.
This can also be a great trope to use if it is your intention to make your audience cry. Just be mindful of the cheese factory you may inadvertently open.
*Reaches for a tissue*
And if you are a fan of Christopher Nolan films, you'll know that he uses this trope to the extreme, often by repeating multiple lines within the same movie. They're used so effectively, however, it works every time!
This repeated line can be said by the same person or by someone else, but the context works best when the speaker of the original line is present, or it becomes an inside reference that the audience knows, while other characters go, "what's that supposed to mean?"
I admit this trope has found its way into a lot of my writings, but not to the extreme, and only when it works. Do this well and you'll turn a bland line into one that will be remembered long after the story is over.
What are some of your favorite Meaningful Echoes you've heard? Ever played with this trope yourself?
I'm David, and I'm David ... Didn't I just say that? ...