Antithesis Literary Terms

Antithesis Literary Terms-39
They showed David kindness and love whereas the latter were brutal in their treatment of the eponymous hero.Therefore we can juxtapose the two to look at human relationships from more than one perspective.

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Antithesis literally means "opposite." It’s used by writers and speakers to compare two opposite ideas to achieve a contrasting effect.

It parallels two contrasting phrases or classes with a similar structure to draw attention to their significance or importance. Who remembers one of the most famous statements of rhetorical antithesis in the public arena: , Brutus is the "noblest of Romans" because he loves Rome and Caesar.

You can see how powerful a rhetorical device it is for rousing speeches, but try to force it, and it becomes trite.

Just like with theme in your manuscript, you can’t set out with an idea of presenting it because then you're preaching. You'll find it comes with rewrite after rewrite when you finally narrow down your thoughts into powerful words that convey your meaning.

At some point in our lives, we've probably all heard a sound bite of Neil Armstrong's iconic first transmission from the Moon: 'That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.' You may have been too inspired by Neil's words to realize it at the time, but his famous phrase very purposefully employs a rhetorical and literary device known as antithesis, that is, the use of words that are opposites or noticeably different to highlight contrasting ideas. Neil could've just as easily stated his idea with something like 'This occasion is insignificant in terms of one person, but has overarching consequences for all humanity.' However, the astronaut's concise quote has inspired so many because it vividly highlights the ramifications of one human's relatively insignificant footstep on the advancement of all humankind through the notable differences between the antithetical elements employed.

As its origins in ancient Greek would suggest, antithesis (Greek for 'opposition,' 'contradiction') has been a popular tool for writers since antiquity, especially among Roman poets of the 1st century A. Let's turn from the space program, now, and look at a few instances of antithesis in some literary works you're sure to recognize!

In fact, the entire opening sentence of A Tale of Two Cities is loaded with antitheses: 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…' Each individual phrase is actually quite concise in itself.

But by piling these antitheses on top of one another, Dickens hoped to underline the underlying social turmoil that existed in the years leading up to and during the French Revolution.


Comments Antithesis Literary Terms

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