Antithesis is a figure of speech that juxtaposes two contrasting or opposing ideas, usually within parallel grammatical structures. For instance, Neil Armstrong used antithesis when he stepped onto the surface of the moon in 1969 and said, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” This is an example of antithesis because the two halves of the sentence mirror each other in grammatical structure, while together the two halves emphasize the incredible contrast between the individual experience of taking an ordinary step, and the extraordinary progress that Armstrong’s step symbolized for the human race.
Often, but not always, antithesis works in tandem with parallelism. In parallelism, two components of a sentence (or pair of sentences) mirror one another by repeating grammatical elements. The following is a good example of both antithesis and parallelism:
The two clauses of the sentence are parallel because each starts off with an infinitive verb and ends with an adjective (“human” and “divine”). The mirroring of these elements then works to emphasize the contrast in their content, particularly in the very strong opposite contrast between “human” and “divine.”
In most cases, antitheses involve parallel elements of the sentence—whether a pair of nouns, verbs, adjectives, or other grammar elements. However, it is also possible to have antithesis without such clear cut parallelism. In the Temptations Song “My Girl,” the singer uses antithesis when he says:
Here the sentence is clearly cut into two clauses on either side of the comma, and the contrasting elements are clear enough. However, strictly speaking there isn’t true parallelism here because “cold outside” and “month of May” are different types of grammatical structures (an adjective phrase and a noun phrase, respectively).
Three literary terms that are often mistakenly used in the place of antithesis are juxtaposition, oxymoron, and foil. Each of these three terms does have to do with establishing a relationship of difference between two ideas or characters in a text, but beyond that there are significant differences between them.
In juxtaposition, two things or ideas are placed next to one another to draw attention to their differences or similarities. In juxtaposition, the pairing of two ideas is therefore not necessarily done to create a relationship of opposition or contradiction between them, as is the case with antithesis. So, while antithesis could be a type of juxtaposition, juxtaposition is not always antithesis.
The focus of antithesis is opposites rather than contradictions. While the words involved in oxymorons seem like they don’t belong together (until you give them deeper thought), the words or ideas of antithesis do feel like they belong together even as they contrast as opposites. Further, antitheses seldom function by placing the two words or ideas right next to one another, so antitheses are usually made up of more than two words (as in, “I’d rather be among the living than among the dead”).
Some Internet sources use “antithesis” to describe an author’s decision to create two characters in a story that are direct opposites of one another—for instance, the protagonist and antagonist. But the correct term for this kind of opposition is a foil : a person or thing in a work of literature that contrasts with another thing in order to call attention to its qualities. While the sentence “the hare was fast, and the tortoise was slow” is an example of antithesis, if we step back and look at the story as a whole, the better term to describe the relationship between the characters of the tortoise and the hare is “foil,” as in, “The character of the hare is a foil of the tortoise.”
Antithesis is a literary device, but it’s also a word used in contexts outside of literature. Before we understand how it’s used in literature and rhetoric, we need to understand its dictionary definition.
Let’s say you meet someone on a dating app who is the exact opposite of everything you want in a partner. You might say they are “the antithesis of who I thought I’d end up with.”
The meaning of antithesis as a literary term is more nuanced and specific, however. It’s more than a matter of two things that are exact opposites. Let’s take a look at what antithesis means in terms of literature and rhetoric.
As a literary device, antithesis is two contrasting ideas juxtaposed against each other using parallel sentence structure. We’ll talk more about what parallel structure is in a later section.
The contrasting ideas in antithesis do not need to be the exact opposite of one another, but they do need to be dissimilar enough to show opposition. Here’s an example from Shakespeare’s Hamlet to illustrate this idea.
Persuasion isn’t about cajoling or coercing the reader. Statistics and anecdotes alone aren’t all that persuasive. Simply sharing a new idea and hoping that it will trigger an about-turn in the reader’s beliefs is wishful thinking. Instead, you should take the reader on a journey—the same journey you travelled to arrive at your newfound beliefs, whether it’s about the superiority of your product or the zeitgeist-changing trend that’s about to break.
Hegelian Dialectic—thesis, antithesis, synthesis—is a structured process for doing precisely that. It contextualises your ideas and explains why they matter. It challenges the idea and strengthens it in the process. Using centuries-old processes, it nudges the 21st-century reader onto a well-worn path that takes them exactly where they need to go.
How to write an antithesis
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How is antithesis effective? – Quora Antithesis is used in writing or speech either as a proposition that contrasts with or reverses some previously mentioned proposition, or when two opposites are introduced together for contrasting effect. How is an antithesis used in creative or formal writing . “the antithesis between occult and rational mentalities” synonyms: contrast · opposition •a rhetorical or literary device in which an opposition or contrast of ideas is expressed. “figures of speech such as antithesis” · [more] 2.(in Hegelian philosophy) the negation of the thesis as the second stage in the process of dialectical reasoning. Antithesis Examples and Definition – Literary Devices If the antithesis is something that the character is thinking, the audience can better understand the full scope of that character’s thoughts. While antithesis is not the most ubiquitous of literary devices, some authors use antithesis quite extensively, such as William Shakespeare. Many of his sonnets and plays include examples of antithesis. How to write: Give examples of thesis antithesis and .
Antithesis | Definition of Antithesis by Merriam-Webster antithesis: [noun] the direct opposite. the rhetorical contrast of ideas by means of parallel arrangements of words, clauses, or sentences (as in “action, not words” or “they promised freedom and provided slavery”). opposition, contrast. the second of two opposing words, clauses, or sentences that are being rhetorically contrasted. Examples of antithesis in huck finn . Examples of antithesis in huck finn >>> next Protien synthesis animations Authored essays from leading writers on arts, history, philosophy, science, religion and beyond, themed across a week. Petronella mantshi hlw nothing but the truth m interested the book sharlton akim anyone give me 10 fatez of this book im writing a essay it must be done by. what is an example of antithesis and sarcasm in a song .
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