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Answering Echo

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O who will show me those delights on high?
Echo. I.
Thou Echo, thou art mortal, all men know.
Echo. No.
George Herbert (1593-1633), "Heaven"

A character asks a question out loud. A voice answers — but not in its own words, just repeating the last few words of the character’s question. The voice in question may just be an echo of the character’s voice; in which case they may or may not mistake it for another character. If the answering voice is in fact a separate entity, expect the character asking the question to assume the answering voice is their own echo, whether or not it sounds like them.

Normally either Played for Drama or Played for Laughs.


Film - Animated

  • My Little Pony: The Movie (1986) had a song done entirely like this between Baby Lickety Split, who was bemoaning her troubles at a well, and Flutter Pony Morning Glory, who was trapped inside.
    No one's in a fix like I am (I am)
    No one has the luck I do (I do)
    No one's had the set backs I have (I have)
    Look where life has led me to (Me too!)


  • Echos from the Boogiepop novel can only communicate like this.
  • In the Serendipity Books series of children's picture books, there's a story of a short-tempered baby elephant who mistakes echoes for a person and gets in a pointless argument with them.
  • Done subtly in the Edgar Allan Poe story "Never Bet the Devil Your Head":
    "What right," said I, "had the old gentleman to make any other gentleman jump? The little old dot-and-carry-one! who is he? If he asks me to jump, I won't do it, that's flat, and I don't care who the devil he is." The bridge, as I say, was arched and covered in, in a very ridiculous manner, and there was a most uncomfortable echo about it at all times—an echo which I never before so particularly observed as when I uttered the four last words of my remark.
  • In The Heroes of Olympus, Leo and Hazel meet Echo, whose name is literally in the trope.


  • The aria "Treues Echo dieser Orten" from Johann Sebastian Bach's secular cantata Hercules auf dem Scheidewege. Much of the music of this cantata, including this aria, was adapted into the fourth part of the Christmas Oratorio.


  • Trope Namer and Ur-Example (Older Than Feudalism): the Greek myth of Echo and Narcissus, told by the Roman writer Ovid. Echo covered for Zeus when Hera was looking for him, so Hera cursed her to only be able to repeat people's words (in one version, specifically because Echo used Parrot Exposition to deflect Hera's questions). When Echo came upon Narcissus, he was captivated by the beauty of his reflection in a pond, and thought Echo's words were the reflection's until he wasted away.


  • The Inquisition in Bernstein's Candide delivers its judgments this way.
    Three Inquisitors: Are our methods legal or illegal?
    Basses: Legal!
    Three Inquisitors: Are we judges of the law, or laymen?
    Basses: Amen.
    Three Inquisitors: Shall we hang them or forget them?
    Basses: Get them!
  • In The Golden Apple, after Ulysses has lost all of his friends, he questions himself about love, faith, hope and dreams. Mother Hare and the chorus echo his words as somewhere in space they hang suspended.

Web Original


Western Animation

  • On the Classic Disney Short Polar Trappers, Goofy goes into an ice cave and mistakes his reflection for someone else. He strikes a conversation with it, or rather, with his own echo:
    Goofy: Hello. Good morning.
    Echo: Good morning.
    Goofy: Did you see a walrus go in there?
    Echo: there.
    Goofy: Thanks
    Echo: Thanks. [Goofy does double take]