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

You are watching: Example of oxymoron in romeo and juliet act 2

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


Oxymorons in Romeo and also Juliet, plot I-II

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

Civil Brawls

One the the most famous oxymorons in Romeo and also Juliet originates from the Prince’s admonition come the Montegues and Capulets top top the roads of Verona. He alerts them around further quarrels disturbing the city’s peace:

Three civil brawls, bred of one airy word,

By thee, old Capulet, and also Montague,

Have thrice disturb"d the quiet of our streets…

(Romeo and Juliet 1.1 91-93)

The native “civil” in the phrase “civil brawls” means that the brawls space friendly. The idea that a “friendly fight” is a clean oxymoron the contradicts itself.

O Brawling Love, O loving Hate

Before Romeo set eyes ~ above Juliet, he was head over heels because that Rosaline. However Rosaline’s denial has collection him into a moody tailspin. Now confronted with news the the most recent Capulet-Montague brawl, Romeo laments come Benvolio:

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

Here’s much to do with hate, but an ext with love.

Why then, O brawling love, O love hate

O any kind of thing, that nothing an initial create!

O heavy lightness, serious vanity,

Misshapen chaos the well-seeming forms!

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

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

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

(1.1 179-187)

Oxymorons dealing with the hit – “O brawling love, O loving hate” – show Romeo’s ambivalent mindset toward the families’ animosity. He also uses oxymorons to define how out-of-sorts the feels in his love towards Rosaline (“cold fire, sick health, still-waking sleep”).


So Loving-Jealous the His Liberty

Act II functions the famed balcony step in i m sorry Romeo and also Juliet express your love. Juliet speak Romeo that she desires him come go, but additionally to stay, reflect in the complying with oxymoron:

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

And yet no additional than a wanton"s bird;

Who allows it hop a small from she hand,

Like a bad prisoner in his twisted gyves,

And v a silk object plucks it ago again,

So loving-jealous that his liberty.

(2.2 190-195)

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

Parting Is such Sweet Sorrow

Another frequently quoted line from Romeo and also Juliet is at the finish of plot II, step 2. However when “parting is together sweet sorrow” is taken out of context, the audience misses the oxymoron in the line above:

“Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.

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

That ns shall say an excellent night it rotates it be morrow.”

(2.2 198-200)

Juliet knows that Romeo’s life is in danger if that stays, but mourns the thought of him leaving. “Kill thee with much cherishing” indicates that she love will end with his death, and “sweet sorrow” is an oxymoron relenten a beloved sadness. The concept of death someone v love is a common theme in Romeo and also 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 also a recurring motif in the play. Here, Friar Lawrence mirrors on his garden and the cyclical nature the life:

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

What is her burying grave the is she womb,

And from she womb youngsters of divers kind

We sucking on her organic bosom find,

Many for numerous virtues excellent,

None yet for some and also yet all different.

(2.3 10-14)

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

Oxymorons in Romeo and also Juliet, acts III-IV

Act II in Romeo and also Juliet ends with their marriage and also the hope because that a more positive future. However, the very an initial scene sets occasions in activity that proceed through act IV, reflect in the characters’ plenty of oxymoronic phrases.

I am Fortune’s Fool

Romeo’s cry after the duel the took Tybalt’s life is one more oxymoron. The laments his rubbish of luck in marrying Juliet:

O, i am fortune"s fool!

(3.1 142)

The word “fortune” explains the universe’s allotment of joy to Romeo. However the really next word, “fool” shows a human who has actually no luck or luck. The oxymoron creates the figurative crossroads Romeo finds himself in at this moment.

Dreadful Trumpet

Much man arises ~ the death of Tybalt. Desperate to listen the news indigenous the sobbing nurse, Juliet pleads with 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 who 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” creates an oxymoron the perfectly describes the feeling of unwanted news.



Beautiful Tyrant, Fiend 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 dragon keep so fair a cave?

Beautiful tyrant, fiend angelical!

Dove-feathered raven, wolvish-ravening lamb!

Despised substance of divinest show!

Just opposite to what she justly seem"st,

A damnèd saint, an honorable villain!

(3.2 79-86)

Juliet cannot make sense of how her beloved husband is a hated murderer. She deems him a “beautiful tyrant” and “fiend angelical,” mixing up the native in every oxymoron come reflect her very own mixed-up feelings. Juliet go the same thing with “a damned saint, one honorable villain!”

Freezes up the heat of Life

After gift promised to Paris for marriage, Juliet sees just one way out of her predicament. She convinces herself to take it the elixir that will make her show up dead:

“Farewell! God knows when we shall accomplish again.

I have actually a pass out cold fear thrills with my veins,

That nearly freezes up the warmth of life:

I"ll call them ago again to comfort me:

Nurse! What need to she do here?

My dismal scene i needs must act alone.

(4.3 15-20)

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

Oxymorons in Romeo and also Juliet, action V

The untimely finish to both Romeo’s and also Juliet’s lives, and the pat itself, is full of oxymorons. Love top to fatality is the can be fried paradox. Right here are part that oxymorons transparent the critical act of Romeo and Juliet.


Unhappy Fortune

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

Unhappy luck! by mine brotherhood,

The letter was not nice but full that charge

Of dear import, and also the neglecting it

May do much danger.

(5.2 17-20)

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

Poor life Corpse

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

But I will write again to Mantua,

And keep her in ~ my cabinet till Romeo come;

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

(5.2 (27-30)

Juliet’s state as a living human inside a tomb is a paradox in itself. The hatchet “living corse (or corpse)” is one oxymoron that describes her situation: she is dead, yet she is also alive.

Myself Condemned and also Myself Excused

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

I to be the greatest, may be to perform least,

Yet most suspected, together the time and place

Doth make against me the this direful murder;

And below I stand, both come impeach and purge

Myself condemned and myself excused.

(5.3 232-236)

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


Kill your Joys with Love

The prince chastises Capulet and also Montague because that their continuous feud. That parallels his class from act I, but additionally shifts blame to self for not taking their fight seriously enough:

Where be this enemies? Capulet! Montague!

See, what a scourge is to adjust upon your hate,

That heaven finds way to kill her joys v love.

And ns for winking at her discords too

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

(5.2 301-305)

The expression “kill your joys with love” contrasts the an unfavorable verb “kills” with the hopeful nouns “joy” and also “love.” This oxymoron perfectly defines the eventually tragedy of Romeo and Juliet’s story: lock were eliminated by love and hate alike.

A Glooming Peace

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

A glooming peace this morning v it brings;

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

Go hence, to have an ext talk of this sad things;

Some shall it is in pardon"d, and also some punished:

For never was a story of an ext woe

Than this the Juliet and her Romeo.

(5.2 316-321)

The word “peace” has actually a optimistic connotation. Pairing that with the word “glooming” marks the play’s last oxymoron, as the only method these families can end their war was v the sacrifice the their own children.

See more: How Do You Make Blood In Little Alchemy ? How To Make Blood In Little Alchemy

Literary tools in Romeo and also Juliet

Each of this oxymorons summarizes the conflicted nature of Romeo and Juliet. As Juliet states in plot II she “only love sprung native her only hate” proves to it is in the can be fried paradox the the play. To learn much more about Shakespearean literary devices, read these the alliteration indigenous Romeo and Juliet. Then, find the key themes of Romeo and Juliet.