Antiparastasis

An Introduction to Antiparastasis

Antiparastasis (derives from Greek combination ‘anti’ “against,” and ‘parastasis’ “evidence”, literally means “a counter-proof”), is a refutationOpens in new window which consists in showing that the object of complaint or condemnation is actually commendable, based on the contrary views of the interlocutor.

This figure evolves when an accused, unable to refute completely the claim or argument of the accuser, defensively set a contrary view of it, in which the vice is twisted to become a virtue. For instance: “You killed” (said the accuser); and the accused countered: “But with justice, for he deserved it”; and likewise, (the accuser says) “You are introducing an illegal motion”; and defensively, the accused countered: “But a profitable one.”

Antiparastasis also occur in the opposite order, when something brought up as a virtue, is on the contrary condemned to be inappropriate; for instance: “Yes,” says (the speaker), “you are introducing a profitable motion but one that is shameful, distressing, painful, inexpedient,”

Notable Examples of Antiparastasis
  • ‘“You abuse quotation [by giving too many]” … “There are not as many as you think, their quality, aptness, rareness, and vividness deceive you about their frequency”’
  • — (Valery Larbaud, Sous L’invocation De Saint Jerome. [excerpted from: A Dictionary of Literary Devices: Gradus, A – Z by Bernard Marie Dupriez]).
  • ‘“But don’t you think,” asked the teacher, “that instilling naivete into one’s pupils is a bit archaic, anachronistic as a device?” “exactly, anachronistic devices are the best”’
  • — (W. Gombrowicz, Iferdydurke. [excerpted from: A Dictionary of Literary Devices: Gradus, A – Z by Bernard Marie Dupriez])
    Example 3 relates to the opposite case mentioned earlier, which consists in proving that the object praised is, on the contrary, worthy of condemnation:
  • [Gillou has announced that he wants to enter the Resistance]: ‘GEORGES: In short, he would like to take up courage as a summer hobby. Idleness produces many things’
  • — (H. de Montherlant, Theatre. [excerpted from: A Dictionary of Literary Devices: Gradus, A – Z by Bernard Marie Dupriez]).
Further Readings:
Bernard Marie Dupriez | A Dictionary of Literary Devices: Gradus, A-Z AntiparastasisOpens in new window
Mervin Robert Dilts, George Alexander | Two Greek Rhetorical Treatises from the the Roman Empire: Introduction, Text ...:AntiparastasisOpens in new window