An oxymoron is a paradoxical expression or pair that words the contradicts itself. Standard that oxymorons encompass “jumbo shrimp” and also “dull roar” - brand-new descriptions developed by the contrary words.

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William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet includes several oxymorons that both elevate the play’s language and also foreshadow its catastrophic ending. Keep analysis for of this oxymorons native Shakespeare’s best-known work, and also their literary purpose.


Oxymorons in Romeo and also Juliet, plot I-II

The prologue that Romeo and Juliet alerts the audience of an unhappy finishing to its tale of “star-crossed lovers.” throughout Acts I and II, oxymorons remind united state of the prologue’s message: these opposing forces will not finish peacefully. Lock reflect the characters’ ambivalent attitudes, torn loyalties, and also misaligned goals.

Civil Brawls

One of the most famed oxymorons in Romeo and also Juliet originates from the Prince’s admonition come the Montegues and also Capulets top top the roadways of Verona. He warns them about further struggle disturbing the city’s peace:

Three civil brawls, bred of one airy word,

By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,

Have thrice disturb"d the quiet of our streets…

(Romeo and Juliet 1.1 91-93)

The indigenous “civil” in the expression “civil brawls” implies that the brawls room friendly. The idea of a “friendly fight” is a clean oxymoron the contradicts itself.

O Brawling Love, O love Hate

Before Romeo collection eyes top top Juliet, he to be head end heels for Rosaline. However Rosaline’s denial has collection him right into a moody tailspin. Now faced with news the the many recent Capulet-Montague brawl, Romeo laments come Benvolio:

“Yet phone call me not, because that I have actually heard that all.

Here’s lot to carry out with hate, but more with love.

Why then, O brawling love, O love hate

O any kind of thing, the nothing very first create!

O heavy lightness, serious vanity,

Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

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

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

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

(1.1 179-187)

Oxymorons dealing with the fight – “O brawling love, O love hate” – present Romeo’s ambivalent mindset toward the families’ animosity. He also uses oxymorons to describe how out-of-sorts he feels in his love toward Rosaline (“cold fire, noble health, still-waking sleep”).


So Loving-Jealous of His Liberty

Act II attributes the renowned balcony scene in which Romeo and also Juliet express their love. Juliet tells Romeo that she wants him to go, but likewise to stay, reflect in the following oxymoron:

"Tis nearly morning; ns would have thee gone:

And however no more than a wanton"s bird;

Who lets it hop a tiny from her hand,

Like a negative prisoner in his twisted gyves,

And v a silk thread plucks it ago again,

So loving-jealous that his liberty.

(2.2 190-195)

Placing “loving” and “jealous” next to each various other in this way underscores Juliet’s internal conflict. Had actually she been able come let Romeo go, she might have avoided she tragic fate – yet alas, the various other side the the oxymoronic expression kept castle together.

Parting Is such Sweet Sorrow

Another generally quoted heat from Romeo and Juliet is at the end of plot II, scene 2. But when “parting is together sweet sorrow” is taken out of context, the audience misses the oxymoron in the line above:

“Yet I must kill thee with lot cherishing.

Good night, an excellent night! parting is together sweet sorrow,

That ns shall say good night till it be morrow.”

(2.2 198-200)

Juliet knows the Romeo’s life is in peril if the stays, however mourns the believed of him leaving. “Kill thee with much cherishing” suggests that her love will finish with his death, and “sweet sorrow” is an oxymoron relenten a beloved sadness. The concept of killing someone with love is a typical theme in Romeo and also Juliet, echoed in its numerous oxymorons.


Her Burying Grave that Is she Womb

The image of the planet being both a grave and a womb is additionally a repeated motif in the play. Here, Friar Lawrence shows on his garden and the cyclical nature of life:

The planet that"s nature"s mom is she tomb;

What is her burying grave that is she womb,

And from she womb youngsters of divers kind

We sucking on her natural bosom find,

Many for plenty of virtues excellent,

None yet for some and also yet all different.

(2.3 10-14)

Audiences might not know that Romeo and Juliet later end their resides in a grave. However, 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 through their marriage and the hope for a much more positive future. However, the very an initial scene sets occasions in movement that continue through act IV, reflect in the characters’ plenty of oxymoronic phrases.

I am Fortune’s Fool

Romeo’s cry after ~ the duel that took Tybalt’s life is an additional oxymoron. The laments his waste of lucky in marrying Juliet:

O, ns am fortune"s fool!

(3.1 142)

The word “fortune” explains the universe’s allotment of happiness to Romeo. However the really next word, “fool” shows a human who has no luck or luck. The oxymoron develops the figurative crossroads Romeo finds self in in ~ this moment.

Dreadful Trumpet

Much confusion arises after ~ the fatality of Tybalt. No hope to hear the news native the sobbing nurse, Juliet pleads through her because that clarity:

What storm is this the blows so contrary?

Is Romeo slaughter"d, and is Tybalt dead?

My dear-loved cousin, and also my dearer lord?

Then, dreadful trumpet, sound the general doom!

For that is living, if those two space gone?

(3.2 70-74)

Trumpets are connected with triumph and also glory. Its positive connotation contrasted with the word “dreadful” create an oxymoron the perfectly describes the emotion of undesirable news.



Beautiful Tyrant, Fiend Angelical

Juliet then learns the Tybalt is dead and also Romeo is his killer. She flood of conflicting emotions come out together a collection of oxymorons:

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

Did ever before dragon save so fair a cave?

Beautiful tyrant, fiend angelical!

Dove-feathered raven, wolvish-ravening lamb!

Despised substance of divinest show!

Just opposite come what she justly seem"st,

A damnèd saint, an honorable villain!

(3.2 79-86)

Juliet can not make sense of how her lover husband is a hated murderer. She deems him a “beautiful tyrant” and also “fiend angelical,” mix up the native in each oxymoron come reflect her own mixed-up feelings. Juliet does the very same thing v “a damned saint, an honorable villain!”

Freezes up the warm of Life

After being promised to Paris because that marriage, Juliet sees only one way out of her predicament. She convinces it s her to take the elixir that will certainly make her appear dead:

“Farewell! God knows once we shall satisfy again.

I have a faint cold fear thrills v my veins,

That nearly freezes increase the warm of life:

I"ll speak to them ago again to comfort me:

Nurse! What have to she execute here?

My dismal scene i needs must act alone.

(4.3 15-20)

Placing “freezes” and “heat” in the exact same sentence demonstrates exactly how quickly death can take organize of someone. It additionally foreshadows what is about to occur when Juliet go drink the elixir.

Oxymorons in Romeo and Juliet, action V

The untimely finish to both Romeo’s and Juliet’s lives, as well as the beat itself, is full of oxymorons. Love top to death is the can be fried paradox. Right here are some of oxymorons transparent the critical act of Romeo and also Juliet.


Unhappy Fortune

Friar Lawrence has sent a letter come Romeo informing that of Juliet’s plot. However, having learned the the letter never obtained to Romeo, Friar Lawrence to know

Unhappy happiness! by my brotherhood,

The letter was not nice but full of charge

Of dear import, and the neglecting it

May do lot danger.

(5.2 17-20)

“Unhappy fortune” approximately translates to “bad luck.” like Romeo’s heat “I to be fortune’s fool,” Friar Lawrence’s heat contrasts the positive connotation the “fortune” v a an adverse word. This oxymoron reflects earlier to the prologue’s referral to “star-crossed lovers” – a tragic ending set up by the universe.

Poor life Corpse

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

But I will write again come Mantua,

And store her in ~ my cabinet till Romeo come;

Poor living corse, closeup of the door in a dead man"s tomb!

(5.2 (27-30)

Juliet’s state together a living human being 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 also Juliet meet their disastrous end, the prince desires answers. The inquires what duty Friar Lawrence had actually in the ordeal, and also the friar explains:

I am the greatest, may be to carry out least,

Yet many suspected, together the time and also place

Doth make versus me that this direful murder;

And below I stand, both to impeach and purge

Myself condemned and also myself excused.

(5.3 232-236)

Friar Lawrence admits that he to know the most however was least able come help. His oxymoronic expression “myself condemned and myself excused” shows that that is both guilty and innocent of Romeo’s and Juliet’s deaths.


Kill your Joys with Love

The prince chastises Capulet and Montague for their continuous feud. That parallels his class from act I, but additionally shifts blame to himself for no taking your fight serious enough:

Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!

See, what a scourge is set upon your hate,

That heaven finds method to kill her joys v love.

And i for winking at your discords too

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

(5.2 301-305)

The phrase “kill her joys through love” contrasts the an unfavorable verb “kills” with the hopeful nouns “joy” and “love.” This oxymoron perfectly defines the eventually tragedy the Romeo and Juliet’s story: castle were killed by love and also hate alike.

A Glooming Peace

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

A glooming peace this morning with it brings;

The sun, because that sorrow, will not show his head:

Go hence, come have much more talk of these sad things;

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

For never was a story of an ext woe

Than this that Juliet and also her Romeo.

(5.2 316-321)

The native “peace” has actually a optimistic connotation. Pairing the with the word “glooming” marks the play’s final oxymoron, as the only method these households can end their battle was v the sacrifice the their very own children.

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Literary gadgets in Romeo and Juliet

Each of these oxymorons summarizes the conflicted nature of Romeo and Juliet. As Juliet says in action II she “only love sprung native her just hate” proves to be the can be fried paradox of the play. Come learn an ext about Shakespearean literature devices, review these of alliteration native Romeo and also Juliet. Then, find the key themes that Romeo and also Juliet.