An oxymoron is a paradoxical expression or pair of words that contradicts itself. Classic of oxymorons include “jumbo shrimp” and “dull roar” - new descriptions created by oppowebsite words.

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William Shakespeare’s Romeo and also Juliet includes several oxymorons that both elevate the play’s language and also foreshadow its tragic ending. Keep reading for of these oxymorons from Shakespeare’s best-known job-related, and also their literary objective.


Oxymorons in Romeo and also Juliet, Acts I-II

The prologue of Romeo and also Juliet warns the audience of an unhappy ending to its tale of “star-crossed lovers.” Throughout Acts I and II, oxymorons remind us of the prologue’s message: these opposing forces will certainly not finish peacetotally. They reflect the characters’ ambivalent mindsets, torn loyalties, and also misaligned goals.

Civil Brawls

One of the many famous oxymorons in Romeo and Juliet comes from the Prince’s admonition to the Montegues and also Capulets on the highways of Verona. He advises them about further quarrels disturbing the city’s peace:

Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,

By thee, old Capulet, and also Montague,

Have thrice disturb"d the quiet of our streets…

(Romeo and also Juliet 1.1 91-93)

Words “civil” in the expression “civil brawls” implies that the brawls are friendly. The principle of a “friendly fight” is a clear oxymoron that contradicts itself.

O Brawling Love, O Loving Hate

Before Romeo set eyes on Juliet, he was head over heels for Rosaline. But Rosaline’s rejection has set him right into a moody tailspin. Now faced via news of the many recent Capulet-Montague brawl, Romeo laments to Benvolio:

“Yet tell me not, for I have actually heard it all.

Here’s much to execute via hate, but more through love.

Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate

O any thing, of nopoint first create!

O heavy lightness, serious vanity,

Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

Feather of lead, bappropriate smoke, cold fire, sick health,

Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!

This love feel I, that feel no love in this.”

(1.1 179-187)

Oxymorons managing the fight – “O brawling love, O loving hate” – display Romeo’s ambivalent attitude towards the families’ animosity. He also offers oxymorons to explain exactly how out-of-sorts he feels in his love toward Rosaline (“cold fire, sick wellness, still-waking sleep”).


So Loving-Jealous of His Liberty

Act II features the famed balcony scene in which Romeo and Juliet express their love. Juliet tells Romeo that she desires him to go, however likewise to remain, reflected in the adhering to oxymoron:

"Tis almost morning; I would have thee gone:

And yet no better than a wanton"s bird;

Who allows it hop a tiny from her hand,

Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,

And via a silk thcheck out plucks it back aget,

So loving-jealous of his liberty.

(2.2 190-195)

Placing “loving” and also “jealous” next to each other in this way underscores Juliet’s interior dispute. Had she been able to let Romeo go, she could have actually avoided her tragic fate – but alas, the various other side of the oxymoronic expression kept them together.

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Another typically quoted line from Romeo and Juliet is at the finish of Act II, scene 2. But as soon as “parting is such sweet sorrow” is taken out of conmessage, the audience misses the oxymoron in the line above:

“Yet I must kill thee via much cherishing.

Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow,

That I shall say excellent night till it be morrow.”

(2.2 198-200)

Juliet knows that Romeo’s life is in peril if he continues to be, however mourns the believed of him leaving. “Kill thee via much cherishing” indicates that her love will certainly end via his fatality, and “sweet sorrow” is an oxymoron describing a lovely sadness. The idea of killing someone with love is a widespread theme in Romeo and Juliet, echoed in its many type of oxymorons.


Her Burying Grave That Is Her Womb

The picture of the earth being both a grave and also a womb is likewise a repetitive motif in the play. Here, Friar Lawrence reflects on his garden and the cyclical nature of life:

The earth that"s nature"s mother is her tomb;

What is her burying grave that is her womb,

And from her womb kids of divers kind

We sucking on her herbal bosom uncover,

Many type of for many virtues excellent,

None but for some and also yet all different.

(2.3 10-14)

Audiences might not understand that Romeo and Juliet later finish their lives in a grave. However before, this oxymoron both sets the tone and foreshadows their tragic end.

Oxymorons in Romeo and Juliet, Acts III-IV

Act II in Romeo and Juliet ends with their marital relationship and the hope for a more positive future. However before, the incredibly initially scene sets events in movement that continue via Act IV, reflected in the characters’ many kind of oxymoronic phrases.

I Am Fortune’s Fool

Romeo’s cry after the duel that took Tybalt’s life is another oxymoron. He laments his waste of luck in marrying Juliet:

O, I am fortune"s fool!

(3.1 142)

The word “fortune” explains the universe’s allotment of happiness to Romeo. But the extremely next word, “fool” suggests a perchild who has actually no fortune or luck. The oxymoron creates the figurative crossroadways Romeo finds himself in at this moment.

Dreadful Trumpet

Much confusion arises after the death of Tybalt. Desperate to hear the news from the sobbing nurse, Juliet pleads via her for clarity:

What storm is this that blows so contrary?

Is Romeo slaughter"d, and is Tybalt dead?

My dear-loved cousin, and my dearer lord?

Then, disastrous trumpet, sound the general doom!

For who is living, if those two are gone?

(3.2 70-74)

Trumpets are connected via triumph and glory. Its positive connotation contrasted via the word “dreadful” creates an oxymoron that perfectly defines the feeling of undesirable news.



Beautiful Tyrant, Fifinish Angelical

Juliet then learns that Tybalt is dead and also Romeo is his killer. Her flood of conflicting emotions comes out as a collection of oxymorons:

O serpent heart, hid through a flow"ring face!

Did ever before dragon keep so fair a cave?

Beautiful tyrant, fiend angelical!

Dove-feathered raven, wolvish-ravening lamb!

Despised substance of divicolony show!

Just oppowebsite to what thou justly seem"st,

A damnèd saint, an honorable villain!

(3.2 79-86)

Juliet cannot make feeling of just how her beloved husband also is a hated murderer. She deems him a “beautiful tyrant” and also “fiend angelical,” mixing up the words in each oxymoron to reflect her own mixed-up feelings. Juliet does the same thing via “a damned saint, an honorable villain!”

Freezes Up the Heat of Life

After being promised to Paris for marriage, Juliet sees only one means out of her predicament. She convinces herself to take the elixir that will make her appear dead:

“Farewell! God knows once we shall accomplish aobtain.

I have a faint cold fear thrills through my veins,

That nearly freezes up the warm of life:

I"ll call them earlier aget to comfort me:

Nurse! What should she execute here?

My dismal scene I demands have to act alone.

(4.3 15-20)

Placing “freezes” and “heat” in the exact same sentence demonstrates how quickly fatality deserve to take hold of someone. It additionally foreshadows what is about to happen as soon as Juliet does drink the elixir.

Oxymorons in Romeo and also Juliet, Act V

The untimely finish to both Romeo’s and also Juliet’s lives, as well as the play itself, is full of oxymorons. Love resulting in death is the ultimate paradox. Here are some of oxymorons throughout the last act of Romeo and also Juliet.


Unhappy Fortune

Friar Lawrence has sent out a letter to Romeo informing him of Juliet’s plot. However, having learned that the letter never acquired to Romeo, Friar Lawrence knows

Unhappy fortune! by my brotherhood,

The letter was not nice yet full of charge

Of dear import, and the neglecting it

May carry out much peril.

(5.2 17-20)

“Unhappy fortune” around converts to “negative luck.” Like Romeo’s line “I am fortune’s fool,” Friar Lawrence’s line contrasts the positive connotation of “fortune” through an unfavorable word. This oxymoron shows earlier to the prologue’s reference to “star-crossed lovers” – a tragic finishing set up by the world.

Poor Living Corpse

The plan for the lovers to satisfy at the tomb has actually gone awry. Fearing that Juliet will wake up alone, Friar Lawrence sets off to the Capulet tomb. He declares:

But I will certainly write aget to Mantua,

And keep her at my cell till Romeo come;

Poor living corse, closed in a dead man"s tomb!

(5.2 (27-30)

Juliet’s state as a living perkid inside a tomb is a paradox in itself. The term “living corse (or corpse)” is an oxymoron that explains her situation: she is dead, yet she is likewise alive.

Myself Condemned and Myself Excused

After Romeo and Juliet satisfy their tragic finish, the prince wants answers. He inquires what role Friar Lawrence had actually in the ordeal, and also the friar explains:

I am the greatest, able to perform leastern,

Yet a lot of suspected, as the moment and also place

Doth make versus me of this direful murder;

And here I stand also, both to impeach and purge

Myself condemned and also myself excsupplied.

(5.3 232-236)

Friar Lawrence admits that he knows the a lot of but was leastern able to aid. His oxymoronic phrase “myself condemned and myself excused” indicates that he is both guilty and also innocent of Romeo’s and Juliet’s deaths.


Kill Your Joys With Love

The prince chastises Capulet and also Montague for their recurring feud. It parallels his lecture from Act I, yet additionally shifts blame to himself for not taking their fight seriously enough:

Wbelow be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!

See, what a scourge is lhelp upon your hate,

That heaven finds means to kill your joys via love.

And I for winking at your discords too

Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish"d.

(5.2 301-305)

The expression “kill your joys with love” contrasts the negative verb “kills” through the positive nouns “joy” and also “love.” This oxymoron perfectly defines the ultimately tragedy of Romeo and Juliet’s story: they were eliminated by love and also hate afavor.

A Glooming Peace

The prince’s last words come after Capulet and also Montegue have actually finished their feud. He acknowledges their agreement with a grim conclusion:

A glooming peace this morning through it brings;

The sun, for sorrow, will not present his head:

Go hence, to have even more talk of these sad things;

Some shall be pardon"d, and also some punished:

For never before was a story of more woe

Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

(5.2 316-321)

Words “peace” has actually a positive connotation. Pairing it through the word “glooming” marks the play’s last oxymoron, as the only way these families deserve to finish their battle was with the sacrifice of their very own kids.

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Literary Devices in Romeo and also Juliet

Each of these oxymorons summarizes the conflicted nature of Romeo and Juliet. As Juliet claims in Act II her “just love sprung from her only hate” proves to be the ultimate paradox of the play. To learn even more about Shakespearean literary tools, read these of alliteration from Romeo and Juliet. Then, discover the major themes of Romeo and Juliet.