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Examples of Antithesis

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.


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