Literature Assessed Questions- definitions.
Paradox is a term associated with formalism which is often used in parallel with irony and ambivalence, but when being discussed, frequently refers to metaphysical poetry. In its simplest form a paradox is a statement which although might seem like absurd nonsense or contradictory, actually expresses truth reconciling the conflicting opposites. Much like the famous play staged by Prince Hamlet. Although paradox is essentially a form of wit and humor and Hamlet is well- renown for its tragic events. Yet there is much truth to be found in the riddle that Hamlet speaks when referring to the King, thus there is at many points a case of paradox. Even though choosing Hamlet to refer to is a slight paradox in itself there is much scope for formalist criticism (of which paradox is a part) in Hamlet, after all the theme of the plot as Shakespeare wrote is "cowards die many times before their deaths.".
Many critics however, often shape their interpretation of paradox though as being one, which is some-thing to be, associated with intellectual appreciation rather than emotional enjoyment. It falls into the category of New Criticism, which so often sunders the text from rational discourse and social context. "Our prejudices force us to regard paradox as intellectual rather than emotional, clever rather than emotional, clever rather than profound, rational rather than divinely irrational" The term paradox suggests some- what of a fusion between two opposing yet complementing meanings, which so often resolve into a close unity. .
There are fundamentally two kinds of paradox that may be distinguished: (a) particular or "local"; (b) general or "structural". Examples of the first are concise statements that verge on the epigrammatic- such as Hamlet's line: "I must be cruel to be kind". The second kind is more complex. For example the ultimate of these types of paradox lies at the heart of the Christian faith: that the world will be saved by failure.