Antithesis means opposite and is used as a literary device to put two contrasting ideas together. This emphasizes the difference between the two ideas and adds interest to writing.
Antithesis in Literature
- Snow White and the Wicked Witch in Snow White
- Dumbledore and Voldemort in Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
- Aslan and White Witch in The Chronicles Of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
- It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
- Marcus Brutus and Mark Antony in Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
- Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n. in Paradise Lost by John Milton
- To err is human; to forgive divine. – An Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope
- Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice. – Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Quotes with Examples of Antithesis
- “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong
- “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
- “Unlike short-sighted, egocentric humans, God “sees with equal eye” the fall of a hero and a sparrow, the destruction of an atom or a solar system.” – Alexander Pope.
- “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” – Abraham Lincoln – The Gettysburg Address
- “I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dryrot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” – Jack London
- “Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing.” – Goethe
- “Patience is bitter, but it has a sweet fruit.” – Aristotle
- “Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.” – Samuel Johnson
- “Folks who have no vices have very few virtues.” – Abraham Lincoln
- “All the joy the world contains Has come through wishing happiness for others. All the misery the world contains Has come through wanting pleasure for oneself.” – Shantideva
Antithesis in Common Speech & Advertising
- “Speech is silver, but Silence is Gold.” (source unknown)
- “Man proposes, God disposes.” (source unknown)
- “Money is the root of all evils: poverty is the fruit of all goodness.” (source unknown)
- “Everybody doesn’t like something, but nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee.” (advertising)
- “Promise her anything, give her Arpage” (advertising)
Antithesis in Music & Films
- It rained all night the day I left, the weather it was dry, the sun so hot, I froze to death – Oh Susanna!
- You are easy on the eyes, but hard on the heart. – Terri Clark
- I close my eyes so I can see…I burn a fire to stay cool…Shut the door so I can leave – Shut the door by Fugazi
- Even though the sun is shining, I can feel the rain. – Roger Hodgson
- It’s never too soon, It’s never too late – Bethany Joy Lenz
- Give me some sunshine, Give me some rain, Give me another chance I wanna grow up once again. – Swanand Kirkire
Antithesis can be used in many different contexts; but, the common thread is that it contains two contrasting ideas.