What Are Examples of Paradoxes in “Romeo and Juliet”?

In “Romeo and Juliet,” contradictions can be found in lines like Romeo’s assertion that his eyes cannot deceive him in acts of love or Friar Lawrence’s description of the earth as nature’s grave and womb. When Romeo says, “This love feel I, that feel no love in this,” he employs yet another oxymoron.

Benvolio, a friend of Romeo, hopes that Romeo will find another girl at the Capulet ball to distract him from his sadness over Rosaline. Romeo responds that he is not misled by his eyes. Romeo’s claim is paradoxical because it is “love at first sight” when he first sees Juliet.

When Friar Lawrence refers to the earth as nature’s tomb and womb, he also creates a paradox because a tomb conjures up images of death while a womb denotes birth and life. Romeo employs yet another paradox to convey the pain of Rosaline’s rejection by declaring that he has no love for the sentiments of love.

Finally, due to what happens between Romeo and Juliet, the play’s plot itself is paradoxical. The young couple falls in love, a feeling that is deeply charged with life and vitality, and as a result of their shared love, they pass away.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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