Antithesis is a rhetorical term which is used to contrast two opposing ideas in a sentence or clause.

What is Antithesis?

The term was firstly used in 1529. It is a rhetorical term which is used to contrast two opposing ideas in a sentence or clause.

For example, “He is going to school by bicycle, but she is coming to home by car”. Here the two contrasting ideas have been discussed. This type of sentence is mostly used in our daily routine.

The antithesis sentences are used to highlight the opposite meaning in a sentence; however the same can be some character who possesses good or bad qualities.

Aristotle has elaborately discussed this term through which the people can get better understanding of the speaker’s point. In other words, the two ways are shown which are different in meanings and directions.


  1. Many were participated in the competition but few won the prizes.
  2. Although I was pushed by him yet I realized my mistake.
  3. Every human has a good heart but few have a good soul
  4. The boys were studying there but there was no light installed there.
  5. People gathered there to see the cricket match but there was no facility of telecasting match.
  6. Everyone wants to become rich but a few have guts to pay for it.
  7. Easy to listen this story but difficult to implement it.
  8. Even though the sun shines, I can feel the rain.
  9. Things are easy to accomplish but not in every case.

Antithesis Examples in Literature:

The audience is persuaded to feel a certain way using this literary device. Antithesis was used extensively by some of the authors. It’s one of the most effective way to develop a disagreement and pave the path for a resolution. It also permits the good character to grow in power and fight back against the forces of evil.

A Tale of two Cities by Charles Dickens:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

The comparison between the best time and the worst time has been discussed. Dickens realizes that the good time can be changed into the bad one. Similarly life is not stuck on one point. There is rise and downfall in life. No certainty exists in life.

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
“Interestingly, the contrast isn’t stark”.

Here in the above line, Shakespeare compared the two prominent figures i.e. Marcus Brutus and Mark Antony with two different colors. He considers both the persons as honourable but considers that Antony possesses a certain ruthlessness which Brutus was missing.

An Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope

“To err is human; to forgive divine.”

The two opposite acts have been compared. No one is perfect in this world. Meaning thereby human can make mistake but it does not mean that his trivial mistake should not be ignored and he will be punished. The act of forgiveness is more on high pedestal. People should have courage to ignore the mistakes and to forgive them.

Hamlet by Shakespeare

“Give every man thy ear, but few they voice”.

Here the precious lesson has been given by Shakespeare through his prominent play. One should possess the quality of patience hearing to others. This will not only increase his own knowledge but also enable him to boots up the wisdom.

Of studies by Francis Bacon

Crafty men contemn studies; simple men admire
them; and wise men use them.”

The comparison between the men having different thinking has been discussed. The silly men hate studies and disregard to gain knowledge. The illiterate people only admire the study whereas the wise men after gaining knowledge employ it. Bacon tries to get understand the people about the importance of studies and how it can be beneficial for them.

Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot’s

“In my beginning is my end. In succession Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended, Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass. Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires…

The cycle of life has been discussed in the above excerpt. The beginning of the day comes to an end when the night prevails. Similarly the old buildings with the passage of time have become old one. Every rising star has an end and every living thing is moving to its eternal place.

Moral Essays by Alexander Pope

Les wit than mimic, more a wit than wise”.

The two opposing effects of wit and mimic and wit and wise have been described here. More wit is better than growing wise, and less wit is better than mimicking..

Guidelines of using Antithesis in Writing

  1. The promptness of each item should be as similar as possible when creating antithesis in a sentence. When crafting antithesis, parallel structure is crucial. Although the parallel structure does not have to be identical, the closer antithesis terms in a phrase have a greater rhythmic effect.
  2. When writing antithesis, keep in mind that the spirit of the sentence should not be completed if competing emotions exist in the sentence.
  3. Consider where in your writing you could use a comparison of two opposing views. Is there a place that symbolizes conflicting characteristics? The two concepts don’t have to be perfect opposites, like light and dark, but they should be distinct and different, like exhilaration and irritation, for example.
  4. As discussed earlier that antithesis is a rhetorical devices, therefore try to use antithesis with light selection of words otherwise your writing will become dull.
  5. You should understand how to correctly use literary strategies in your writing when producing a story as an aesthetic exercise. To use the proper antitheses, you must create memorable characters and write genuine conversation. Your personal experiences in stories have an effect on writing antithesis.
  6. Keep in mind that the quality of antitheses has an impact on character development, highlighting the character from every viewpoint, thus the antithesis chosen should be similar to the character’s attributes.
  7. In order to build tension in a sentence based on the situation, writers utilize antithesis to pique the audience’s interest. This writing style is more exclusive, which piques the reader’s curiosity.

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