An Introduction to Antithesis
Antithesis (derives from Greek anti “against” and thesis “a setting, position” literary means “setting opposite”), is a kind of parallelismOpens in new window or a parallel structure where two contrasting ideas are presented in opposition to one another, in words, sentences, or parts of a sentence, which makes the principal idea more striking.
Antithesis possess all the advantages of climaxOpens in new window or amplificationOpens in new window, with which different things of the same kind impress the mind when placed in juxtaposition; and it adds to these the pleasures derivable from unexpected difference and surprise.
By using a parallel structure for presenting a contrast, antithesis produces vibrancy, clarity, balance, and emphasis, all of which contribute to memorability. In fact, speaking of emphasis, Antithesis is a concrete form of EmphasisOpens in new window, and sometimes the theme, or principal idea, remains implicit. Example: “Soap cannot tolerate dirt” — (H. Michaux, Face aux verrous)
Antithesis can convey a sense of complexity by presenting opposite or nearly opposite truths. By placing the contrasting ideas in the same grammatical position in the sentences using parallelism, the contrast is more emphatically pointed out to the reader. Observe this attribute in the examples below: