Paradox vs. Parody

Difference Between Paradox And Parody


A paradox is something that seems to contradict itself. A paradox can be witty, such as the statement, “It’s the little things in life that are big.” A paradox can also be poetic, as in Robert Frost’s description of a constellation as “that heavenly beast.” Shakespeare used paradox in Romeo and Juliet—”sad joy,” “sweet sorrow,” “delicious misery.” This kind of paradox is also known as an oxymoron—a paradoxical statement that combines two terms that are usually contradictory.

Humor is sometimes achieved by imitating, or mimicking, the actions, style, and language of certain persons, places, and cultures. Long before American humorists often mimicked the speech of foreigners and people in rural or less-developed regions. Such mimicry, which can be cruel and insulting, is used less and less today.


Parody is an imitation of the style of a well-known individual or work. When a performer impersonates someone, it is often done in a good-natured way to poke fun at the person’s behavior. Sometimes, however, parody may be more cutting and sharp.

Sentimental poems are often parodied. Joyce Kilmer’s poem “Trees” (1913) begins:

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree… .

The humorous poet Ogden Nash parodied Kilmer’s poem as follows:

I think that I shall never see

A billboard lovely as a tree.

Indeed, unless the billboards fall,

I’ll never see a tree at all.




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