Can you list some examples of metaphors and oxymorons in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Shakespeare was a dramatist and poet who was a master at using the English language in a way hard to be found with any other writer.

In Romeo and Juliet, his metaphors abound (along with the use of similes, hyperbole, personification, etc.); there are oxymorons as well.

A metaphor is the comparison between two dissimilar things as if they were the same—they are similar because they share similar characteristics.

Juliet offers a metaphor in Act Two, scene two, as she compares their new love to a young flower:

This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,

May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet. (127-128)

Juliet is saying that their new love (a "bud") may have grown even more beautiful (grown stronger and more fully) when they next meet. Romeo uses a metaphor in Act Two, scene two:

I have night's cloak to hide me from their eyes (79)

He is comparing the darkness to a dark cloak. This form of imagery is pointing out that darkness and a cloak have similar characteristics in that they are both able to cover so that things cannot been seen as they might be in the light.

eNotes defines an oxymoron as...

...a figure of speech in which two contradictory words or phrases are combined to produce a rhetorical effect by means of a concise paradox.

One example of an oxymoron is found in Act Two, scene two:

Therefore pardon me,

And not impute this yielding to light love,

Which the dark night hath so discovered. (108-110)

The oxymoron is "dark night hath so discovered." The question that presents itself is how can anything be discovered in the dark?

Another oxymoron in Act Two, scene two is:

...the more I give to thee,

The more I have... (140-141)

It seems impossible to give more and have more...reason tells us that when we give more, we have less.

There is another as Juliet says...

And yet I wish but for the thing I have. (II.ii.137)

Why would one wish for something he or she already has?

Shakespeare's use of figurative language, which includes metaphors and oxymorons, makes what is said and depicted that much more beautiful and explicit (precise); his writing seems to go beyond mere description by conveying crystal clear imagery, which evokes in us a more powerfully emotional response to what he is trying to impart with the written word. We can see much of this in a play, but the words are still very impactful even if we only read his dramatic works.



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