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Confession of Love by Jean-Honoré Fragonard depicts a subject confessing feelings that had been concealed up to that point.

In general, a confession is is when a person tells someone a thing that the other person usually does not know. In different contexts, the word has slightly different meanings:

Often, a confession is associated with an admission of a moral or legal wrong:

In one sense it is the acknowledgment of having done something wrong, whether on purpose or not. Thus confessional texts usually provide information of a private nature previously unavailable. What a sinner tells a priest in the confessional, the documents criminals sign acknowledging what they have done, an autobiography in which the author acknowledges mistakes, and so on, are all examples of confessional texts.[1]

Not all confessions reveal wrongdoing, however. For example, a declaration of love is often considered positive both by the confessor and by the recipient of the confession and is a common theme in literature.[2][3]

There are several specific kinds of confessions that have significance beyond the social. A legal confession involves an admission of some wrongdoing that has a legal consequence. Confession in religion varies widely across various belief systems. It is usually part of a ritual by which the person acknowledges thoughts or actions considered sinful or morally wrong within the confines of the confessor's religion. In some religions, confession takes the form of an oral communication to another person. Socially, however, the term may refer to admissions that are neither legally nor religiously significant.[4]

Some confessions are very notable. For example, the confession of Henry II of England to the murder of Thomas Becket.

References[change | change source]

  1. Jorge J. E. Gracia (1995), A Theory of Textuality: the logic and epistemology, pp. 94–95.
  2. Giulio Marra, Shakespeare and this "Imperfect" World: dramatic form and the nature of nowing (1997), p. 69, describing "the distinction between 'to do' and 'to confess', between having thoughts of love and confessing one's love, between the indetermination of a feeling and its final definition", as a theme that "creeps into the various stories".
  3. Charles Emil Kany, The Beginnings of the Epistolary Novel in France, Italy and Spain (1937), Volume 21, Issues 1-6, p. 19.
  4. Roger W. Shuy, The Language of Confession, Interrogation, and Deception (1998), p. 2–10.