What are a few good oxymorons in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Act 1 Scene 1?
Oxymorons are created when two opposing words are put together to make a point or to show a certain paradox for understanding. The best oxymorons are found in the conversation between Benvolio and Romeo in this scene. Benvolio, his cousin, has a plan to know Romeo's melancholy mind because he's been acting so depressed lately. Romeo is sad because he has been rejected by Rosaline, a girl he's been wooing, and he is conflicted about the subject of love. From a lover's perspective, love is wonderful; but, from a rejected lover's view, love is painful. Then, Romeo sees evidence of the brawl that Benvolio had just been in and he laments with oxymorons over that, too. Romeo tries to express his internal conflict by using oxymorons to describe his feelings. Here are a few examples in bold:
1. "Do I live dead that live to tell it now" (I.i.223).
2. "O, teach me how I should forget to think" (I.i.225).
3. "Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!/ O anything of nothing first create!" (I.i.171-172).
A footnote in the edition published by Perfection Learning says that the lines quoted in 171-172 show the artificiality of Romeo's love as was the popular device for love poetry in Shakespeare's day. Romeo acknowledges that his love for Rosaline is not deep, but he's still frustrated.