Oxymoron is a figure of speech in which two contrary thoughts are joined to create an effect. The not unusual oxymoron phrase is a combination of an adjective proceeded via a noun with contrasting meanings, such as “merciless kindness,” or “living loss of life”.
However, the contrasting words/phrases aren't always glued together. The contrasting thoughts can be spaced out in a sentence, such as, “In order to lead, you should walk behind.”
Difference Between Oxymoron and Paradox
It is essential to recognize the distinction among an oxymoron and a paradox. A paradox can also include a sentence, or even a collection of sentences. An oxymoron, on the opposite hand, is a aggregate of contradictory or opposite words. A paradox appears contradictory to the general truth, but it does incorporate an implied truth. An oxymoron, however, may also produce a dramatic impact, but does no longer make literal sense. Examples of oxymoron are observed each in informal conversations and in literature.
Common Examples of Oxymoron
The above oxymoron examples produce a comical impact. Thus, it is lots of fun to use them in your normal speech.
Short Examples of Oxymoron in Speech
There changed into a love-hate relationship among the 2 neighboring states.
The professor became giving a lecture on digital reality.
Paid volunteers have been running for the organisation.
The channel became repeating the old news once more and again.
The contractor was asked to give the precise estimate of the project.
A lot of soldiers were killed in friendly fire.
The physician changed into truely uncertain of the nature of his illness.
All the politicians agreed to disagree.
There became an employee in the office who turned into often irregular.
The hero of the play become so dejected that he turned into the perfect embodiment of being on my own in a crowd.
The heads of state accumulated to decide an approximate approach to the crisis.
The green pasture surrounded via hills changed into teeming with a deafening silence.
The political scientist was asked to present his unbiased opinion on the current issue.
The CEO of a multinational business enterprise said, “We were awfully lucky to have survived the disastrous effects of the recent monetary recession.”
The program became not preferred with the aid of the human beings, for a variety of unpopular celebrities have been invited.
Examples of Oxymoron in Literature
Example #1: Romeo and Juliet (By William Shakespeare)
Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
O anything, of nothing first create!
O heavy lightness! Serious vanity!
Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Feather of lead, vivid smoke, bloodless fire, sick health!
Still-waking sleep, that isn't what it is!
This love experience I, that sense no love in this.
Dost thou not laugh?
We notice a series of oxymora being hired when Romeo confronts the love of an inaccessible woman. An severe emotional effect is produced, to spotlight his mental struggle by using contradictory pairs of words, such as “hating love,” “heavy lightness,” “vibrant smoke,” “cold fire,” and “unwell health”.
Example #2: Lancelot and Elaine (By Alfred Lord Tennyson)
The shackles of love straiten’d him
His honour rooted in dishonoured stood
And faith unfaithful saved him falsely true
We honestly notice using oxymoron inside the phrases “shackles… straiten’d,” “honour… dishonor,” “religion unfaithful,” and “falsely true”.
Example #3: Petrarch’s 134th sonnet (By Sir Thomas Wyatt)
I find no peace, and all my struggle is done
I worry and hope, I burn and freeze like ice,
I flee above the wind, but can I now not arise;
The contradicting thoughts of “battle … peace,” “burn … freeze,” and “flee above … now not rise” produce a dramatic effect inside the above-stated lines.
Example #4: Essays of Criticism (By Alexander Pope)
The bookful blockhead ignorantly study,
With hundreds of learned lumber in his head,
With his own tongue nonetheless edifies his ears,
And usually list’ning to himself appears.
The above traces provide nice evidence of Pope’s witticism. The oxymora “bookful blockhead” and “ignorantly examine” describe someone who reads a lot, however does no longer apprehend what he reads, and does no longer appoint his reading to enhance his character.
Example #5: Hamlet (By William Shakespeare)
Shakespeare uses oxymora in his performs to develop a paradox.
I will bestow him, and could answer well
The dying I gave him. So, again, accurate night.
I ought to be cruel, only to be kind:
Thus awful begins and worse remains behind.
One word more, appropriate lady.
In the above strains taken from “Hamlet,” Shakespeare draws two contradictory ideas: “be merciless … to be kind”. The contradiction is understood in the context of the play. Hamlet desires to kill Claudius, the murderer of his father, who has married his mother. Hamlet does now not want his mom to be the cherished of his father’s murderer. Therefore, he's of the view that this murder will purge her.
Example #6: Romeo and Juliet , Act I, Scene II (By William Shakespeare)
O serpent heart, concealed with a flowering face!
Did ever dragon keep so truthful a cave?
Beautiful tyrant! Fiond angelical!
Dove-feather’d raven! Wolvish-ravening lamb!
Despised substance of divinest show!
Just contrary to what thou justly seem’st;
A damned saint, an honourable villain!
O, nature! What hadst thou to do in hell
When thou didst bower the spirit of a fiend
This extract uses some proper oxymora, such as “damned saint,” and “honorable villain,” etc.
Function of Oxymoron
Oxymoron produces a dramatic effect in each prose and poetry. For instance, when we examine or hear the well-known oxymoron, “sweet sorrow,” crafted through Shakespeare, it appeals to us instantly. It provokes our thoughts, and makes us ponder the meaning of contradicting ideas. This apparently confusing word expresses the complex nature of love, that can never be expressed through easy words.
In everyday conversation, however, humans do now not use oxymoron to make deep statements like the one above. Instead, they do it to reveal wit. The use of oxymoron adds taste to their speech.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw