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Compositum Ex Contrariis

Updated Jun 4, 2023

The Power of Rhetorical Device: Compositum Ex Contrariis


Rhetoric, the art of effective communication, has been a crucial skill since ancient times. Among its various techniques, the rhetorical device of "compositum ex contrariis" holds a special place. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of compositum ex contrariis, its meaning, and provide accurate examples to illustrate its power in persuasive communication.

Understanding Compositum Ex Contrariis

Compositum ex contrariis, also known as "composition from contraries" or "synthesis of opposites," is a rhetorical device used to create a strong impact by combining contrasting elements or ideas. By juxtaposing opposing concepts, this technique aims to highlight the stark differences between them, leading to a heightened effect on the audience. Let's delve into a few notable examples to better understand this device.

Example 1: "Love and Hate"

One classic example of compositum ex contrariis is the phrase "love and hate." These two emotions, seemingly at odds with each other, are often used together to convey intense passion. In William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, the famous line "My only love sprung from my only hate!" beautifully exemplifies this technique. The contrast between love and hate intensifies the characters' emotions and adds depth to the narrative.

Example 2: "War and Peace"

Leo Tolstoy's renowned novel "War and Peace" showcases another prominent use of compositum ex contrariis. The title itself represents the synthesis of opposites, emphasizing the paradoxical coexistence of two contrasting states of being. By merging the notions of war and peace, Tolstoy invites readers to reflect on the complex nature of human existence and the continuous struggle between these opposing forces.

Example 3: "Beauty and the Beast"

The popular fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast" also employs compositum ex contrariis to captivate audiences. The story revolves around the unlikely union of a beautiful young woman and a monstrous beast. The stark contrast between their appearances and personalities creates tension, making their eventual love story all the more compelling. This use of compositum ex contrariis highlights the transformative power of love and the potential for beauty to be found in unexpected places.


Compositum ex contrariis is a powerful rhetorical device that harnesses the impact of contrasting elements to evoke strong emotions and captivate audiences. Through the examples of "love and hate" in Romeo and Juliet, "war and peace" in Tolstoy's novel, and "beauty and the beast" in the famous fairy tale, we have witnessed how this technique can enhance communication and storytelling. By skillfully employing compositum ex contrariis, speakers, writers, and artists can create a profound and memorable impact on their audience, leaving a lasting impression of their message.

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