Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Teaching / Scholarship /
Shakespeare’s Sonnets: Meta-Oxymoron / Basics /
Oxymoron: Literary / Philosophical
My Mac hard drive dictionary defines oxymoron as “a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g., faith unfaithful kept him falsely true).”
I sometimes hear it used to mean a contradiction in terms: a pocketbook paradox.
I never heard the term till my senior year at Columbia where my beloved James Zito indentified it as a rhetorical device popular in Elizabethan times, used much by Shakespeare.
Try this, from Romeo and Juliet, II ii:
Good night, good night! parting is such
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.
There: “sweet sorrow.”
Mutually exclusive in normal thought and expression. But notice: the sweet sorrow oxymoron is nested in a metaphorically oxymoronic framework: Julet wants to say goodnight to Romeo all night long, till it’s no longer night, but day.
In time things become their supposed opposite!
But that’s a separate point, needing much more development.
The rest of this section will load up with examples from the Sonnets (and from other Shakespeare plays, and other Renaissance works …)