Explain the definition and relationship between "juxtaposition", "oxymoron", and "paradox".

I'm supposed to apply this to Romeo and Juliet too, so any examples including them would be appreciated.

I tried to understand them. Oxymorons are like a phrase that consists of words that have an opposite meaning. Like Jumbo Shrimp.

Paradoxes are like things are don't really make sense, but have a somewhat true deeper underlying meaning.

And juxtaposition was to broad and confusing for me to learn.

closed as off-topic by Kris, aedia λ, Mari-Lou A, Mitch, Kristina Lopez Feb 21 '14 at 18:56

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  • Is this question about your homework? – Matt E. Эллен Feb 18 '14 at 10:57
  • No, it's to prepare for a test (on Romeo and Juliet). I tried looking it up in my textboook, and I understood Oxymorons well and paradoxes somewhat (I just couldn't phrase it in words). Juxtaposition was confusing because it seemed so broad of a definition. – bandicoot12 Feb 19 '14 at 4:53
  • So, that's essentially a yes. This is work you are doing for your class that is not extraneous to the syllabus. – Matt E. Эллен Feb 19 '14 at 9:29
  • 2
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about understanding concepts needed for criticism, discussion, and analysis of English literature. – aedia λ Feb 20 '14 at 18:19

Juxtaposition is a term for the placement of two things close together for simultaneous examination (and contrasting effect).

Oxymoron relies on the juxtaposition of two words that have conflicting meanings that would normally negate each other Jumbo shrimp was an excellent example of this. A more tongue-in-cheek example is military intelligence.

Paradox is more of a logical device than a literary device in which two or more axiomatically true items are juxtaposed to be in contradiction to one another. Unlike an oxymoron, it does not have to be based solely on the literary meaning of those terms.

There is a classic religious paradox, namely, Can God create a substance so heavy that He Himself could not lift it? The paradox being an omnipotent being can lift anything, because he is omnipotent; he can also create anything because he is omnipotent. So, how can both states be true simultaneously. The answer: they can't. But, which one is untrue? You cannot say, because, both parts are axiomatic and untestable.

Oh, and, do your own homework next time!!!! :-P


Wictionary has a reasonable explanation of the term juxtaposition. They explain the origin and the general idea and its special use in grammar, mathematics, art and rhetorics. enter link description here

Oxymoron: This is a special literary device, also called a figure of speech. en.wikipidia explains the term sufficiently with examples such as "living dead" or "mad wisdom".

For paradox also see wikipedia. It is mainly a contradiction, but there may be more to it than the mere contradiction.

When using such terms a juxtaposition, oxymoron and paradox you should have a clear idea of the basic meaning of these terms. Literary terms have not the precision of mathematical terms and often there is some overlap. So oxymoron and paradox clearly have an overlap. If it is the first time you use such terms you should have a book about stylistics and figures of speech where such things are more fully explained with a lot of examples and comments. This is much better than meagre one-sentence definitions in dictionaries. If you don't know such books ask librarians in public libraries or persons who know about such things. There are good and interesting books on these topics and there is botchwork.

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