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Difference Between Juxtaposition and Oxymoron

Juxtaposition vs Oxymoron

Juxtaposition and oxymoron are two figures of speech. They are used in literary works to beautify the composition. Both of these have been used by great writers to frame some very interesting comparisons.

“Juxtaposition” is the term which defines an act of placing a pair or even more things or ideas side by side usually in contrast or comparison. It is a literary means to portray and alleviate the differences and similarities between the combination of things. The combining items may be situations, ideas, emotions, characters, or personalities. The resulting effects of placing them in proximity is relatively enhanced by the impression and effect. For instance,


Shakespere has beautifully used juxtaposition to chalk out the differences between the emotions of love of Mercutio and Romeo in his romantic epic “Romeo and Juliet.” For Mercutio’s love, the writer used expressions as carnal impulses and sensual gratification, and for Romeo the words used are expressions of pure love. The contrast has been portrayed in succession in a single act to skillfully craft the contrasting personalities.
Juxtaposition may be used to depict ideas visually also. For instance, a couple in which the husband is very tall and the wife is short represents a contrasting juxtaposition. Similarly, in the song “What a wonderful world” of the singer Michael Moore, a war scene rolls out to represent the juxtaposed situations.

Juxtaposition has also been used in films to trace out the characters. The famous character of Charlie Chaplin has been framed out of contrasting juxtaposition. It is clearly depicted and evokes humor when a billionaire picks up a candy from the street and starts eating it.
Juxtaposition may be of various types; ironic juxtaposition, radical juxtaposition, and pastiche.

“Oxymoron” is an apparently self-contradictory statement yet appears to be true. For instance;

Pretty ugly
Same difference
Agree to disagree
Living in the past
Truly false
Natural enhancement

These are literary figures of speech. Here, as clear from the examples, supposedly opposite statements are put together as a pair usually within a single statement.
An oxymoron is a specialized type of juxtaposition. An oxymoron has two words in juxtaposition which do not go together normally but are placed next to each other bringing about antagonistic expression.
In its commonest forms, an oxymoron makes use of an adjective – noun pair as in, “falsely true.” These are often used in the creation of literary works. Many of these paradoxical oxymorons have become clichés as “irregular pattern” and “deafening silence.”


1.Juxtaposition is pairing that which depicts either similarities or differences between the two while an oxymoron is a pairing of contrasting statements depicting the differences.
2.An oxymoron is a type of juxtaposition.

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