Antithesis Literary Terms

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However, Pope wishes his colleagues to remember their own humanity as they criticize other humans, so he appeals to their sense of superiority by concisely letting them know the source of true divinity.

Unlike the other examples we've seen so far, Charles Dickens' use of antithesis in his famous novel from 1859 is anything but brief.

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!

While that may be good and true, few writers use antithesis because, if forced, it sounds contrived and sanctimonious.

Let’s look at antithesis closer to see if—or how—you can use it to reach deeper meaning.

And it will come when you realize you’re at a crossroads: you have a stark choice between two alternatives.

In literature it is a setting or character or mood etc which is set against what has gone before.

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