An oxymoron is a paradoxical expression or pair the words the contradicts itself. Standard the oxymorons incorporate “jumbo shrimp” and “dull roar” - brand-new descriptions formed by the opposite words.

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


Oxymorons in Romeo and also Juliet, plot I-II

The prologue the Romeo and Juliet alerts the audience of one unhappy finishing to its tale of “star-crossed lovers.” transparent Acts I and II, oxymorons remind us of the prologue’s message: this opposing pressures will not end peacefully. They reflect the characters’ ambivalent attitudes, take it loyalties, and also misaligned goals.

Civil Brawls

One the the most famed oxymorons in Romeo and Juliet originates from the Prince’s admonition come the Montegues and Capulets ~ above the streets of Verona. He cautions them about further quarrels disturbing the city’s peace:

Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,

By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,

Have thrice disturb"d the quiet of ours streets…

(Romeo and also Juliet 1.1 91-93)

The word “civil” in the phrase “civil brawls” implies that the brawls room friendly. The idea that a “friendly fight” is a clear oxymoron the contradicts itself.

O Brawling Love, O love Hate

Before Romeo collection eyes top top Juliet, he was head over heels because that Rosaline. But Rosaline’s rejection has collection him right into a moody tailspin. Now confronted with news of the many recent Capulet-Montague brawl, Romeo laments to Benvolio:

“Yet phone call me not, for I have heard it all.

Here’s lot to execute with hate, but an ext with love.

Why then, O brawling love, O love hate

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

O heavy lightness, serious vanity,

Misshapen chaos the well-seeming forms!

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

Still-waking sleep, that is no what it is!

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

(1.1 179-187)

Oxymorons managing the fight – “O brawling love, O loving hate” – present Romeo’s ambivalent mindset toward the families’ animosity. He additionally uses oxymorons to explain how out-of-sorts that feels in his love toward Rosaline (“cold fire, sick health, still-waking sleep”).


So Loving-Jealous that His Liberty

Act II functions the well known balcony step in i m sorry Romeo and also Juliet express their love. Juliet speak Romeo that she wants him to go, but likewise to stay, reflected in the complying with oxymoron:

"Tis almost morning; ns would have actually thee gone:

And yet no further than a wanton"s bird;

Who allows it hop a little from she hand,

Like a bad prisoner in his twisted gyves,

And through a silk subject plucks it ago again,

So loving-jealous that his liberty.

(2.2 190-195)

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

Parting Is such Sweet Sorrow

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

“Yet I have to kill thee with much cherishing.

Good night, great 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 risk if the stays, however mourns the thought of him leaving. “Kill thee with lot cherishing” shows that she love will end with his death, and “sweet sorrow” is one oxymoron explicate a lovely sadness. The principle of killing someone v love is a usual theme in Romeo and Juliet, echoed in its numerous oxymorons.


Her Burying Grave the Is her Womb

The photo of the planet being both a grave and a womb is likewise a recurring motif in the play. Here, Friar Lawrence shows on his garden and the cyclical nature that life:

The earth that"s nature"s mommy is she tomb;

What is her burying grave the is she womb,

And from she womb children of divers kind

We sucking ~ above her natural bosom find,

Many for countless virtues excellent,

None but for some and also yet all different.

(2.3 10-14)

Audiences may not know that Romeo and also Juliet later end their stays in a grave. However, this oxymoron both sets the tone and also foreshadows your tragic end.

Oxymorons in Romeo and Juliet, plot III-IV

Act II in Romeo and also Juliet ends with their marriage and the hope for a more positive future. However, the very first scene sets occasions in motion that proceed through plot IV, reflect in the characters’ countless oxymoronic phrases.

I to be Fortune’s Fool

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

O, ns am fortune"s fool!

(3.1 142)

The native “fortune” explains the universe’s allotment of pleasure to Romeo. Yet the very next word, “fool” indicates a human being who has no happiness or luck. The oxymoron develops the figurative crossroads Romeo finds himself in in ~ this moment.

Dreadful Trumpet

Much man arises ~ the fatality of Tybalt. No hope to hear the news from the sobbing nurse, Juliet pleads v her because that clarity:

What storm is this that 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 basic doom!

For that is living, if those two room gone?

(3.2 70-74)

Trumpets are associated with triumph and glory. Its positive connotation contrasted with words “dreadful” creates an oxymoron that perfectly defines the emotion of undesirable news.



Beautiful Tyrant, Fiend Angelical

Juliet then learns the Tybalt is dead and Romeo is his killer. Her flood of conflict emotions come out as a series of oxymorons:

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

Did ever dragon save so fair a cave?

Beautiful tyrant, fiend angelical!

Dove-feathered raven, wolvish-ravening lamb!

Despised problem of divinest show!

Just opposite come what she justly seem"st,

A damnèd saint, one honorable villain!

(3.2 79-86)

Juliet can not make sense of exactly how her lovely husband 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 walk the exact same thing with “a damned saint, one honorable villain!”

Freezes up the warmth of Life

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

“Farewell! God knows as soon as we shall accomplish again.

I have a faint cold are afraid thrills v my veins,

That nearly freezes up the warm of life:

I"ll call them ago again to comfort me:

Nurse! What have to she execute here?

My dismal scene i needs have to act alone.

(4.3 15-20)

Placing “freezes” and also “heat” in the exact same sentence demonstrates just how quickly death can take host of someone. It also foreshadows what is around to occur when Juliet does drink the elixir.

Oxymorons in Romeo and also Juliet, act V

The untimely end to both Romeo’s and also Juliet’s lives, and the play itself, is full of oxymorons. Love leading to death is the can be fried paradox. Right here are some instances of oxymorons throughout the critical act the Romeo and Juliet.


Unhappy Fortune

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

Unhappy luck! by my brotherhood,

The letter was not nice but full that charge

Of to ~ import, and also the neglecting it

May do lot danger.

(5.2 17-20)

“Unhappy fortune” roughly translates to “bad luck.” favor Romeo’s heat “I am fortune’s fool,” Friar Lawrence’s heat contrasts the confident connotation that “fortune” through a negative word. This oxymoron reflects earlier to the prologue’s recommendation to “star-crossed lovers” – a catastrophic ending set up by the universe.

Poor living Corpse

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

But I will certainly write again to Mantua,

And save her in ~ my cabinet till Romeo come;

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

(5.2 (27-30)

Juliet’s state together a living human being inside a dig is a paradox in itself. The ax “living corse (or corpse)” is one oxymoron that describes her situation: she is dead, but she is also alive.

Myself Condemned and also Myself Excused

After Romeo and also Juliet fulfill their tragic end, the prince desires answers. That inquires what function Friar Lawrence had actually in the ordeal, and also the friar explains:

I am the greatest, may be to perform least,

Yet many suspected, together the time and also place

Doth make against me of this direful murder;

And right here I stand, both come impeach and also purge

Myself condemned and myself excused.

(5.3 232-236)

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


Kill her Joys with Love

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

Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!

See, what a scourge is set upon her hate,

That heaven finds method to kill your joys with love.

And ns for winking at her discords too

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

(5.2 301-305)

The phrase “kill her joys with love” contrasts the negative verb “kills” v the confident nouns “joy” and also “love.” This oxymoron perfectly describes the eventually tragedy that Romeo and Juliet’s story: they were killed by love and also hate alike.

A Glooming Peace

The prince’s last words come ~ Capulet and also Montegue have ended their feud. That acknowledges their commitment with a grim conclusion:

A glooming peace this morning through it brings;

The sun, for sorrow, will certainly not show his head:

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

Some shall be pardon"d, and some punished:

For never was a story of more woe

Than this the Juliet and also her Romeo.

(5.2 316-321)

The indigenous “peace” has actually a hopeful connotation. Pairing that with the word “glooming” marks the play’s last oxymoron, as the only method these households can finish their war was through the sacrifice the their own children.

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Literary devices in Romeo and also Juliet

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