Oxymoron

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What is Oxymoron? (ox-ee-more-on)

Oxymoron is when you place two words that don’t typically belong together side by side in a phrase:

“TEARS of JOY”

“BITTER SMILE”

“TRAGIC COMEDY”

Why do we use oxymoron?

In a similar way to JUXTAPOSITION, by doing this, you make the contrast seem greater, which can be very interesting in making the reader think or feel a certain way about a character. For example, in Romeo and Juliet, Juliet calls Romeo a “beautiful tyrant” when she first hears that Romeo killed her cousin, Tybalt. By using this oxymoron, we can get a glimpse into her mixed emotions: she’s in love with Romeo, but she hates him in this moment for killing her cousin: he is both beautiful AND a tyrant to her, right now.