What is a Antithesis?

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

What is a Antithesis?

The term was firstly used in 1529. It is a rhetorical term that contrasts two opposing ideas in a sentence or clause.

For example, “He is going to school by bicycle, but she is coming 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 highlight the opposite meaning in a sentence; however, the same can be true for some character who possesses good or bad qualities.

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


  1. Many 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 to see the cricket match, but there was no facility for telecasting the match.
  6. Everyone wants to become rich, but a few have the guts to pay for it.
  7. Easy to listen to this story but difficult to implement.
  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 ways 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 a good time can be changed into the bad one. Similarly, life is not stuck on one point. There is a rise and downfall in life. No certainty exists in life.

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Interestingly, the contrast isn’t stark.

In the above line, Shakespeare compared the two prominent figures, i.e., Marcus Brutus and Mark Antony, with two different colors. He considers both persons honorable, but Antony possesses a certain ruthlessness that 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. It means that a human can make a 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 a high pedestal. People should have the courage to ignore their mistakes and 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 in hearing from others. It will increase his knowledge and enable him to boot 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 gaining knowledge. The illiterate people only admire the study, whereas the wise men, after gaining knowledge, employ it. Bacon tries to understand the people about the importance of studies and how they can benefit 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 time, have become old. 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 for using Antithesis in Writing

  1. The promptness of each item should be as similar as possible when creating an 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 device; therefore, try to use antithesis with a light selection of words; otherwise, your writing will become dull.
  5. It would help if you understood how to correctly use literary strategies in your writing when producing a story as an aesthetic exercise. You must create memorable characters and write genuine conversations using proper antitheses. Your personal experiences in stories affect writing antithesis.
  6. Remember that the quality of antitheses impacts character development, highlighting the character from every viewpoint. Thus the antithesis chosen should be similar to the character’s attributes.
  7. 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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