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Romeo and Juliet

Question

What is an oxymoron and where is it used?

2 years ago

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2 Replies

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1672 views

O

Ola Grant


2 Answers

W
Wendy E

An oxymoron deliberately combines two words or ideas, that contradict one another, for the purpose of revealing a deeper meaning. For example, when Juliet says to Romeo that, ‘Parting is such sweet sorrow’, Shakespeare has captured the deeper meaning of the simultaneous pain and joy of departing. He is trying to communicate that being separated from a loved one is painful but, because it is so painful, it reminds you of your love and joy.


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Hi Ola,


An oxymoron is a comparison of opposites or words which seem to contradict each other grouped together e.g. (both from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet:


hot ice

sweet sorrow


Oxymorons tend to have the effect of intensifying emotion, or demonstrating conflict or absurdity. As with all literary effects, it's the feeling or idea they produce which matters most!


They are surprisingly common in everyday speech e.g.:


awfully nice

friendly fight


You might even say a 'frenemy' is an oxymoron!


Here is a list of surprisingly funny oxymorons, including a good cartoon which makes it clear: 101 Awfully Good Examples of Oxymorons - angmohdan.com


If you're interested in taking this deeper, then you could consider how oxymorons relate to paradox: Oxymoron vs. Paradox: What Is the Difference? (+ Examples) (poetrysoc.com)


Hope that helps!

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