Juxtaposition Rhetorical Device

‘Juxtaposition rhetorical device’ is a literary technique that is used to place unassociated words, ideas, phrases side by side in a poem or a narration to create a surprising effect. Here the users will be able to know 15 juxtaposition examples and use in literature.


Originated from the Latin word ‘juxta’ which means near. It was first known used in 1654.

Juxtaposition Definition:

A literary figure of speech which is used to place unassociated words, ideas, phrases side by side in a poem or a narration to create a surprising effect. It highlights difference by developing comparisons and contrasts between the two ideas or two characters.

Writer uses this technique to allow the readers to find differences between two elements. Through this device, readers will be able to see difference more vividly.

Juxtaposition synonym:

Following are the synonyms of juxtaposition:

• Contrast
• Comparison
• Association
• Combination
• Proximity
• Touching
• abutment

How to Find Juxtaposition:

Sometime, it is difficult to find out juxtaposition in a word, phrase or line. However, by adopting the following steps, one can easily find ‘juxtaposition’ in a literary work.

• Find out characters, items or images that are in close relation and are in contrast.
• Determine the meaning of one side of word.
• Determine the message of other side of word in contrast.
• Try to interpret the contrasting words.

Purpose of Juxtaposition:

‘Juxtaposition’ is considered a literary tool at the hands of writer, who utilize it in their writing for gaining desires effect by comparing or contrasting the two different elements. Following are some purposes of juxtaposition in a piece of writing:

• Helpful in character development.
• Showing difference between good and bad characters.
• Through provoking with unusual thinking.

What is an Example of a Juxtaposition:

Juxtapositions are used in our daily life. People use this technique to compare the two different things. Here are the fifteen examples of juxtaposition use in our daily routine.

  1. Beggars and choosers.
  2. Light and darkness.
  3. Wisdom and foolishness.
  4. Belief and incredulity.
  5. Vision and blindness
  6. Poverty and wealth.
  7. Beauty and ugliness.
  8. Prince and Pauper.
  9. Heaven and Hell.
  10. Friend and foe.
  11. Curse and bless.
  12. Rich and poor.
  13. Rural and Urban
  14. Sky and Earth
  15. Fat and Smart.

Juxtaposition examples in Literature:

Juxtaposition is a useful literary mode through which the readers are able to get vivid meaning by comparing the two contradictory words, which otherwise are similar in its terms. It is best tool for the writers and poets to show the difference between the two things and to highlight one thing more important than the other. They produce surprising effect in order to achieve their goal.

In literature, some examples of juxtaposition have been described below that enhance the value of literary work:

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Tomorrow and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time
and all our yesterday’s have lighted fools,
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle
Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
and then is heard no more. It is a tale
told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

In the play, the writer has contrasted the poor player with the life control activity immediately juxtaposed with meaningless empty. In the last line, the sound and fury have those connotations of power, strength, emotion, activity pattern suggesting that human beings fill our lives with and activity to make us feel important but ultimately our lives are dark.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Twelve voices were shouting in anger and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again, but already it was impossible to say which was which.

The allegorical work of the ‘Orwell’ in which he hits the political regime and the Communist Russian state by juxtaposing the political leaders with the animals (pigs). He is actually showing the inability of the humans to take steps for the people of Russia. In the play, the writer while showing the ironic effect of men and pigs with the people living outside and allow the readers to compare and contrast between these two classes.

Good Nighty By Dylan Thomas

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray
Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage
Against the dying’ of the light

Here in the first line, ‘Thomas’ has juxtaposed the words ‘curse’ with ‘bless’. He is actually showing the pain and in-depth feeling for begging his father, who is about to die. He describes the situation of cursing while he started begging and by comparing the contradictory word bless, he intimate that begging is not a bless thing.

In the last two lines, ‘Thomas’ juxtaposes the words good and night while showing his disappointment towards the health of his father saying to him either to surrender peacefully or resign himself to his fate. He desires his father to resist his own death and rage against a peaceful end.

Oxymoron V. Juxtaposition

Oxymoron’ is a literary technique through which two opposite words are combined with each other in order to create some special effect. It is used to make suggestive the literary text. For example love and hate, wise and fool.

‘Juxtaposition’ is the technique which highlights the difference between the two ideas or two characters by developing comparisons and contrasts between them. For example, light and dark, foe and friend.

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