In this excerpt, Richard III confronts Buckingham about his hesitation towards Richard's proposal to murder the Princes. The tyrant makes use of an oxymoron to express his frustration and doubt:
Tut, tut, thou art all ice; thy kindness freezes.
Say, have I thy consent that they shall die?
Richard describes Buckingham as "all ice," suggesting he is cold and unemotional. Yet, he immediately mentions Buckingham's "kindness," a term usually associated with warmth and empathy. This juxtaposition of opposing concepts—coldness and kindness—forms an oxymoron. Oxymorons are figures of speech in which two seemingly opposing concepts are brought together: here, “kindness freezes.” This marriage of opposites demonstrates the disconnect Richard senses between Buckingham's behavior and his intentions.
An oxymoron is always paradoxical. When Richard says "thy kindness freezes," he's stating a paradox, or a self-contradictory proposition. Kindness is typically seen as a warm and comforting quality, not something that's icy or chilly. Richard's statement implies that Buckingham's so-called "kindness" is actually nonexistent. It's a detached, cruel form of kindness that holds no warmth, thus "freezing" rather than warming. Additionally, the term "freezes" signals Richard's impatience with Buckingham's hesitation and reluctance. Buckingham’s “kindness” (not killing the princes yet) is slowing down Richard’s plans and “freezing” his progress as monarch. Richard is teasing Buckingham unpleasantly in this interaction. He knows that Buckingham will obey his orders, but he taunts him with the impossible idea that he needs Buckingham's "consent" to proceed.