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Complete Antithesis by Oceanbreeze7 -T

Discussion in ' Almost Recommended ' started by nevu , Jan 20, 2019 .


nevu First Year

Title: Antithesis Author: Oceanbreeze7 Rating: T Genre: Unlisted (Probably Tragedy/Angst/Drama) Status: Complte Library category: Dark Arts/AU Pairings: Harry/Luna (story says there are no pairings at the beginning... .SpoilerTarget"> Spoiler Harry definitively says that he loved Luna after she dies, so it's basically the setup of a relationship without the payoff ) Summary: Revenge is the misguided attempt to transform shame and pain into pride. Being forsaken and neglected, ignored and forgotten, revenge seems a fairly competent obligation at this point. Skylar is the boy who lived, that's why he's important. I'm not Skylar. Going to Hogwarts is part of the plan, waking the basilisk is part of the plan, taking potions, learning spells, being tortured, murdering others, watching people di- I’m going to tell you a story, although it’s a bit long. I’m going to make you listen, because I want you to understand how you made me a monster. I’ll call this story antithesis, and you’re going to learn every single moment where things went wrong. I want you to cry, and beg for me to kill you, and when I’m done with this, you’re going to want to do that to yourself. You’re going to listen, because in the end, you owe me that much. You owe me so much more, but here we are, and this is how it’s going to end. Who knows, maybe this useless battle between you and me and this bloody world, well, maybe we always were fated to kill each other. Do you know what it is like to be unmade? Click to expand...


Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

The writing really could be much better. The author has a tendency to write in this overwrought, overdramatized, overwritten way. The fear of using said, the overuse of adjectives and adverbs, the need to explain every single thing that includes the most mundane of details - it's just way too pretentious to be what I call enjoyable prose. Closer to tolerable prose, if I had to call it anything. That said, it isn't complete garbage if you like this style and the author thankfully never used other grievous mistakes like walls of text. It's hard for me to properly rate this since I can't bring myself to read through the whole thing, but from what little I've read, I'll have to go with a 2.5, rounded up to 3/5.  


Dario Squib

I read this story in a single day about two months ago and I wanted to put it up for review immediately, but felt as if there were many aspects that people would write off before giving the story a chance. You are a braver man than me my friend =P As the OP mentioned, the first couple chapters are stereotypically angsty to the point where I almost dropped the fic, but after that brief period I was glad I hadn’t. The author wanted to write a realistic WBWL fic (accompanying cliches included) with minimal to no bashing and I would say that they achieved that goal admirably. I felt as if I was engaged just about the entire time and there were many aspects of the story that, as far as I’m aware, are completely original and intriguing. Just about every character is interesting and believable. I don’t recall any major instances of anyone behaving OOC, but I could be misremembering. Time and again we’ve seen WBWL fics where Harry’s brother is bashed and has no personality other than being antagonistic. This story does not do that. Throughout the story Harry is traumatized again and again and I feel that he reacted believably most, if not every time. The buildup is well done and by the end of the story Harry is unrecognizable from the character in the beginning. This story almost feels like an exploration of the repercussions of the different trauma that Harry goes through. Something that may discourage some from reading this fic is the fact that it very much lives up to it’s listed categories. The words “Angst” and “Tragedy” seem almost too mild for this. It certainly isn’t to everyone’s taste, and while I myself enjoy stories where it seems like the protagonist is constantly getting fucked over, I sometimes had to take a bit of a breather in between chapters and after I was finished with the story. TL;DR - I really enjoyed this story and felt it was very well written. It took a few chapters for the angst to become bearable and the author to find their stride, but when I was able to slog through that I ended up becoming immersed in the story. It’s angst-ridden to all hell and some might not find that to their taste. It is an incredibly dark story and I certainly felt uncomfortable during certain parts, but overall it was believable and enjoyable. If you can get past the cliches and the first few chapters, this story is very good. 4/5 (Sorry if this review seems jumbled, I kinda just wrote whatever came to mind >.>)  


Tomster10010 Fourth Year

I liked it. It wasn't fantastic and I don't see myself reading it again but I have a soft spot for WBWL fics that are even halfway good. I'd say around 3.5 rounded to 4 stars. Side note: is there any way to give stars on mobile?  


Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

Another story we needed a bit more review on before shifting it into either almost rec or the library. Basic premise is WBWL which I can usually roll with even if it's not my favorite, so I'm giving it a go. The summary and intro though just make it sound so dark and dramatic and depressing and edgy and whatnot that I'm not really looking forward to reading. Before the first chapter starts we have a list of warnings including major depression, child abuse, eating disorders, PTSD, psychotic episodes, etc. I was bored out of the gate in Chapter 1 and found myself skimming, since it's basically telling us that Voldemort showed up, tried to kill the kid, got himself killed. Rewriting the scene to be dramatic is great, but I want to get into the meat of the story and struggled to not skim. Ah, I think this is one of those stories. The ones where James and Lily have twins yet treat one of them significantly different from the other because plot. These never seem to go well. There's plenty of these types of fics that do work but in the ones that work the parents either treat both kids similarly (Santi) or the fact that they don't is not accepted as normal in the story itself (and usually there's an in-story reason too - like Prince of Slytherin). In the end it's a similar problem to what I had with that "Series of Unfortunate Events" series of books. I can't suspend disbelief at how the adults act. It's not that there is abuse of a sort going on, I know that happens in real life. It's the whole package that just pulls me out of the story. I read the first 4 chapters then started skimming. Looks like Harry is resenting being left with the Dursleys (after being raised from birth thru age 8 with his parents) even though he chose to go there after being given some options. Granted I don't blame him for being sore, but he's just... it's clearly being used as a way to make him resent/hate things and use that to drive himself into being strong and good at magic. I'm bored. Harry got bullied by some muggles or something. He's got a pet snake. Some other muggle is giving him shit and Harry retaliates in a darker manner than he would have in canon. He gets kidnapped by Rodolphus, who likes him on account of he's a little shit who killed a muggle and can do wordless magic. And here we get to Chapter 9, where I suspect the actual story might start? Seriously, chapters 1-8 did have needed backstory but they could have been summarized into one chapter. It might matter what happened to Harry, but I suspect that most of those characters and events aren't going to play into the larger plot apart from how they affected Harry. I didn't need to see it happen, just summarize and get to where the story starts. And story starts when Harry, raised by his parents but treated as an afterthought and abandoned at age 8, is informally taken in by Bellatrix Lestrange and gets friendly with the Dark Lord Voldemort in Chapter 9. If this story hadn't needed another review (or two - get on it people) I'd never have made it past the first few chapters to find the semi-engaging content. Then I started skimming again, after Harry Adrian starts meeting overly convenient people in Knockturn. Frankly this is going to be a guilty-pleasure read for someone who wants to read the above story. It's not really my thing since I'm not into Dark!Harry. Story gets a 2.5/5 from me. I'm rounding up to 3 because I can see this in almost recommended, but no way in hell do I think it belongs in the library.  


Moon-With-Pearls Muggle

I truly adored it. It had a realistic feel - not like other WBWL stories. People aren't just good or evil. There's no true bashing in the real world. And I think the author captured everything beautifully. It's is a story of angst, and I almost didn't make it through, but I did, and I'm glad because the ending is absolutely stunning. I admit, I did skip past some blocky dialogue, but the incredible way of writing more than made up for it. I would honestly give the story a 4.8/5. Changed my life.  


Abandoned Antithesis by Wind Whisperer - M

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Antithesis Definition

What is antithesis? Here’s a quick and simple definition:

Antithesis is a figure of speech that juxtaposes two contrasting or opposing ideas, usually within parallel grammatical structures. For instance, Neil Armstrong used antithesis when he stepped onto the surface of the moon in 1969 and said, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." This is an example of antithesis because the two halves of the sentence mirror each other in grammatical structure, while together the two halves emphasize the incredible contrast between the individual experience of taking an ordinary step, and the extraordinary progress that Armstrong's step symbolized for the human race.

Some additional key details about antithesis:

  • Antithesis works best when it is used in conjunction with parallelism (successive phrases that use the same grammatical structure), since the repetition of structure makes the contrast of the content of the phrases as clear as possible.
  • The word "antithesis" has another meaning, which is to describe something as being the opposite of another thing. For example, "love is the antithesis of selfishness." This guide focuses only on antithesis as a literary device.
  • The word antithesis has its origins in the Greek word antithenai , meaning "to oppose." The plural of antithesis is antitheses.

How to Pronounce Antithesis

Here's how to pronounce antithesis: an- tith -uh-sis

Antithesis and Parallelism

Often, but not always, antithesis works in tandem with parallelism . In parallelism, two components of a sentence (or pair of sentences) mirror one another by repeating grammatical elements. The following is a good example of both antithesis and parallelism:

To err is human , to forgive divine .

The two clauses of the sentence are parallel because each starts off with an infinitive verb and ends with an adjective ("human" and "divine"). The mirroring of these elements then works to emphasize the contrast in their content, particularly in the very strong opposite contrast between "human" and "divine."

Antithesis Without Parallelism

In most cases, antitheses involve parallel elements of the sentence—whether a pair of nouns, verbs, adjectives, or other grammar elements. However, it is also possible to have antithesis without such clear cut parallelism. In the Temptations Song "My Girl," the singer uses antithesis when he says:

"When it's cold outside , I've got the month of May ."

Here the sentence is clearly cut into two clauses on either side of the comma, and the contrasting elements are clear enough. However, strictly speaking there isn't true parallelism here because "cold outside" and "month of May" are different types of grammatical structures (an adjective phrase and a noun phrase, respectively).

Antithesis vs. Related Terms

Three literary terms that are often mistakenly used in the place of antithesis are juxtaposition , oxymoron , and foil . Each of these three terms does have to do with establishing a relationship of difference between two ideas or characters in a text, but beyond that there are significant differences between them.

Antithesis vs. Juxtaposition

In juxtaposition , two things or ideas are placed next to one another to draw attention to their differences or similarities. In juxtaposition, the pairing of two ideas is therefore not necessarily done to create a relationship of opposition or contradiction between them, as is the case with antithesis. So, while antithesis could be a type of juxtaposition, juxtaposition is not always antithesis.

Antithesis vs. Oxymoron

In an oxymoron , two seemingly contradictory words are placed together because their unlikely combination reveals a deeper truth. Some examples of oxymorons include:

  • Sweet sorrow
  • Cruel kindness
  • Living dead

The focus of antithesis is opposites rather than contradictions . While the words involved in oxymorons seem like they don't belong together (until you give them deeper thought), the words or ideas of antithesis do feel like they belong together even as they contrast as opposites. Further, antitheses seldom function by placing the two words or ideas right next to one another, so antitheses are usually made up of more than two words (as in, "I'd rather be among the living than among the dead").

Antithesis vs. Foil

Some Internet sources use "antithesis" to describe an author's decision to create two characters in a story that are direct opposites of one another—for instance, the protagonist and antagonist . But the correct term for this kind of opposition is a foil : a person or thing in a work of literature that contrasts with another thing in order to call attention to its qualities. While the sentence "the hare was fast, and the tortoise was slow" is an example of antithesis, if we step back and look at the story as a whole, the better term to describe the relationship between the characters of the tortoise and the hare is "foil," as in, "The character of the hare is a foil of the tortoise."

Antithesis Examples

Antithesis in literature.

Below are examples of antithesis from some of English literature's most acclaimed writers — and a comic book!

Antithesis in Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities

In the famous opening lines of A Tale of Two Cities , Dickens sets out a flowing list of antitheses punctuated by the repetition of the word "it was" at the beginning of each clause (which is itself an example of the figure of speech anaphora ). By building up this list of contrasts, Dickens sets the scene of the French Revolution that will serve as the setting of his tale by emphasizing the division and confusion of the era. The overwhelming accumulation of antitheses is also purposefully overdone; Dickens is using hyperbole to make fun of the "noisiest authorities" of the day and their exaggerated claims. The passage contains many examples of antithesis, each consisting of one pair of contrasting ideas that we've highlighted to make the structure clearer.

It was the best of times , it was the worst of times , it was the age of wisdom , it was the age of foolishness , it was the epoch of belief , it was the epoch of incredulity , it was the season of Light , it was the season of Darkness , it was the spring of hope , it was the winter of despair , we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven , we were all going direct the other way —in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Antithesis in John Milton's Paradise Lost

In this verse from Paradise Lost , Milton's anti-hero , Satan, claims he's happier as the king of Hell than he could ever have been as a servant in Heaven. He justifies his rebellion against God with this pithy phrase, and the antithesis drives home the double contrast between Hell and Heaven, and between ruling and serving.

Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.

Antithesis in William Shakespeare's Othello

As the plot of Othello nears its climax , the antagonist of the play, Iago, pauses for a moment to acknowledge the significance of what is about to happen. Iago uses antithesis to contrast the two opposite potential outcomes of his villainous plot: either events will transpire in Iago's favor and he will come out on top, or his treachery will be discovered, ruining him.

This is the night That either makes me or fordoes me quite .

In this passage, the simple word "either" functions as a cue for the reader to expect some form of parallelism, because the "either" signals that a contrast between two things is coming.

Antithesis in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

Shakespeare's plays are full of antithesis, and so is Hamlet's most well-known "To be or not to be" soliloquy . This excerpt of the soliloquy is a good example of an antithesis that is not limited to a single word or short phrase. The first instance of antithesis here, where Hamlet announces the guiding question (" to be or not to be ") is followed by an elaboration of each idea ("to be" and "not to be") into metaphors that then form their own antithesis. Both instances of antithesis hinge on an " or " that divides the two contrasting options.

To be or not to be , that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them ...

Antithesis in T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets"

In this excerpt from his poem "Four Quartets," T.S. Eliot uses antithesis to describe the cycle of life, which is continuously passing from beginning to end, from rise to fall, and from old to new.

In my beginning is my end . In succession Houses rise and fall , crumble, are extended, Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass. Old stone to new building , old timber to new fires ...

Antithesis in Green Lantern's Oath

Comic book writers know the power of antithesis too! In this catchy oath, Green Lantern uses antithesis to emphasize that his mission to defeat evil will endure no matter the conditions.

In brightest day , in blackest night , No evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil's might Beware my power—Green lantern's light!

While most instances of antithesis are built around an "or" that signals the contrast between the two parts of the sentence, the Green Lantern oath works a bit differently. It's built around an implied "and" (to be technical, that first line of the oath is an asyndeton that replaces the "and" with a comma), because members of the Green Lantern corps are expressing their willingness to fight evil in all places, even very opposite environments.

Antithesis in Speeches

Many well-known speeches contain examples of antithesis. Speakers use antithesis to drive home the stakes of what they are saying, sometimes by contrasting two distinct visions of the future.

Antithesis in Patrick Henry's Speech to the Second Virginia Convention, 1775

This speech by famous American patriot Patrick Henry includes one of the most memorable and oft-quoted phrases from the era of the American Revolution. Here, Henry uses antithesis to emphasize just how highly he prizes liberty, and how deadly serious he is about his fight to achieve it.

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take: but as for me, give me liberty or give me death .

Antithesis in Martin Luther King Jr.'s Oberlin Commencement Address

In this speech by one of America's most well-known orators, antithesis allows Martin Luther King Jr. to highlight the contrast between two visions of the future; in the first vision, humans rise above their differences to cooperate with one another, while in the other humanity is doomed by infighting and division.

We must all learn to live together as brothers —or we will all perish together as fools .

Antithesis in Songs

In songs, contrasting two opposite ideas using antithesis can heighten the dramatic tension of a difficult decision, or express the singer's intense emotion—but whatever the context, antithesis is a useful tool for songwriters mainly because opposites are always easy to remember, so lyrics that use antithesis tend to stick in the head.

Antithesis in "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash (1981)

In this song by The Clash, the speaker is caught at a crossroads between two choices, and antithesis serves as the perfect tool to express just how confused and conflicted he is. The rhetorical question —whether to stay or to go—presents two opposing options, and the contrast between his lover's mood from one day (when everything is "fine") to the next (when it's all "black") explains the difficulty of his choice.

One day it's fine and next it's black So if you want me off your back Well, come on and let me know Should I stay or should I go ? Should I stay or should I go now? Should I stay or should I go now? If I go, there will be trouble If I stay it will be double ...

Antithesis in "My Girl" by the Temptations (1965)

In this song, the singer uses a pair of metaphors to describe the feeling of joy that his lover brings him. This joy is expressed through antithesis, since the singer uses the miserable weather of a cloudy, cold day as the setting for the sunshine-filled month of May that "his girl" makes him feel inside, emphasizing the power of his emotions by contrasting them with the bleak weather.

I've got sunshine on a cloudy day When it's cold outside I've got the month of May Well I guess you'd say, What can make me feel this way? My girl, my girl, my girl Talkin' bout my girl.

Why Do Writers Use Antithesis?

Fundamentally, writers of all types use antithesis for its ability to create a clear contrast. This contrast can serve a number of purposes, as shown in the examples above. It can:

  • Present a stark choice between two alternatives.
  • Convey magnitude or range (i.e. "in brightest day, in darkest night" or "from the highest mountain, to the deepest valley").
  • Express strong emotions.
  • Create a relationship of opposition between two separate ideas.
  • Accentuate the qualities and characteristics of one thing by placing it in opposition to another.

Whatever the case, antithesis almost always has the added benefit of making language more memorable to listeners and readers. The use of parallelism and other simple grammatical constructions like "either/or" help to establish opposition between concepts—and opposites have a way of sticking in the memory.

Other Helpful Antithesis Resources

  • The Wikipedia page on Antithesis : A useful summary with associated examples, along with an extensive account of antithesis in the Gospel of Matthew.
  • Sound bites from history : A list of examples of antithesis in famous political speeches from United States history — with audio clips!
  • A blog post on antithesis : This quick rundown of antithesis focuses on a quote you may know from Muhammad Ali's philosophy of boxing: "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee."

The printed PDF version of the LitCharts literary term guide on Antithesis

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Fanfic / Antithesis: Two Sides Of A Coin

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That night, when the city was asleep and bathed in the light of the moon, a boy escaped his home with nothing but a bag and the clothes on his back. With him, he took thirteen notebooks, a fistful of his mother's money, a pocket knife, and a length of rope. In his place, he left a note for his poor mother, a letter for his long-gone friend, and a poster of the number one hero, their symbol of peace, with a long, even slash through his face.

That night, Midoriya Izuku died, and, in his place...

A villain was born.

Antithesis: Two Sides Of A Coin provides examples of:

  • Most of the U.S.J thugs end up making it out of the U.S.J here. Despite this, it is never explained why, with the exception of Polaris , none of them joined or at least kept in contact with the League.
  • Despite it being well known to the public that Izuku/The Magician killed Stain, Spinner still ends up joining the League without any issues.
  • Izuku undergoes one of these both in terms of power and personality. Even though he never gained One For All , his probability quirk is shown to be extremely powerful, allowing him to take on and curb stomp All Might, Stain, and Muscular while barely lifting a finger. It also helps that, alongside power, he also grows a spine, to the point of being able to legitimately terrify most of his foes.
  • According to the files detailing their crimes, villains such as Dabi, Mr.Compress, and Twice are shown to be much more hardened and experienced even before entering the league.
  • Ochako, after mastering her new powers gained after her parents' death , is significantly more powerful than her canonical self. While her quirk in canon is just a simple touch-based gravity quirk, here she's a straight-up esper who can lift far more weight.
  • The U.S.J Thugs , of all characters, are also given this. While in canon they are stomped with only some difficulty by the students and teachers, here they are the ones giving the curb stomp. Most of them even make it out of the U.S.J. It's justified since it's Izuku, instead of Shigaraki, who picked them out.
  • Endeavor not only keeps his pre- Heel Realization personality but is also internally shown to not care about Shoto as a person, a level of jerkass his original counterpart never showed.
  • Bakugo, similarly, never goes through his canonical character development and is shown to hold racist views against Mutant type quirk users, something he never held in canon.
  • Midoriya himself, obviously. He goes from being a hero hopeful to being one of the most powerful villains in Japan.
  • Uraraka, after Nezu blows up her family and throws her in Tartarus. After breaking out with the help of Izuku and Polaris, she joins Izuku and the League as Infinity, wishing to change society.
  • Hagakure, after Raon makes her visible again. Grateful for what’s been done and angry at the heroes for forgetting and abandoning her, she joins the League.
  • Nezu. In canon, Nezu is a straight-up hero. While there is the occasional joke about him hating humans, he is never portrayed as anything less than a good dog-mouse-thing. Here? He manipulates events so that Ochako can be framed as insane and thrown in Tartarus, events that include causing millions in property damage and getting countless innocents, including Ochako's parents, killed, all because Ochako began to doubt heroes and wished to learn more about Izuku's motives . While he attempts to frame this to himself as a necessary sacrifice to preserve the public trust in heroes, the story doesn't frame his actions as anything but monstrous.
  • Izuku. When he isn't being legitimately kind or terrifying, it seems like every other sentence out of his mouth is dripping in sarcasm. Izuku, to Stain: "Ah, yes, because clearly murdering two children is the answer to life's problems."
  • Kurogiri, though he's more of a Silent Snarker . Kurogiri: "What do you want?" Izuku: "Something as dark and bitter as my soul." Kurogiri hands him a dinosaur cup filled with hot milk.
  • Ochako, after her Face–Heel Turn , gets much more sarcastic. Maybe Sarcasm comes with villainy? Ochako, to the League: "Your collective moral compasses are like a fucking roulette wheel."
  • Stain is killed by Izuku instead of being knocked out and arrested.
  • Ochako's parents end up dying in an explosion set up by Nezu in a bid to set up Ochako as insane and get her thrown into Tartarus.
  • Like Stain, Muscular doesn't make it out of his fight with Midoriya alive.
  • Chapter 34 confirms that All Might ended up dying to Veil's backstab.
  • Raon kills All for One in Chapter 35 as revenge for his murder of her friends.
  • Izuku. After All Might's callous rejection of his dreams, he snaps and becomes one of the most dangerous supervillains the world has ever seen in little under a year.
  • Ochako and Toru. After the heroes fail them and they see how truly corrupt society is, they join the League in hopes of changing it.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare : Midoriya goes from being a forgotten kid claiming to have a Quirk, to one of the most powerful villains in Japan, in a little under a year.
  • In Spite of a Nail : Most of the canonical events from the beginning arc to the Kamino Ward arc happen and conclude similarly to canon, despite many small things changing. The U.S.J and Training Camp arcs are exceptions to this.
  • Point of Divergence : Due to Izuku's dislike of Katsuki and his knowledge of just how stubborn the explosive blond is, the League doesn't go after Bakugo during the Training camp raid. Instead, they go after Shoto and Momo.
  • The Reveal : Raon/Veil is the origin of Quirks, having some kind of biokinetic power which she was forced to use for various experiments, one of which ended up creating the Quirk virus. Moreover, she is effectively immortal, and has been waiting for decades in order to kill All for One in revenge for him murdering her only friends.
  • True Companions : The League, despite their wildly different personalities and... issues... are all shown to deeply care for each other and work well together. Toru notes how close they are in chapter 31.
  • Villains Out Shopping : Literally in Chapter 22, in which Izuku goes out grocery shopping, even getting a talk with Shoto.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change! : Izuku's quirk gives him the ability to affect probability to a certain extent. Depending on the situation and scale of the event, as well as how close Izuku himself is to said event, this power can either make the improbable certain, likely, or ultimately impossible to happen .
  • What Measure Is a Mook? : One of the thugs at the U.S.J, Blazkein, ends up being blinded by Shoto and mortally wounded after rubble falls on him. He then spends the last minutes of his life calling and talking to his fiancé . The next few chapters are spent looking at the consequences of this ultimately small death, consequences that end with Ochako joining the League .
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Definition of Antithesis

Antithesis is a literary device that refers to the juxtaposition of two opposing elements through the parallel grammatical structure. The word antithesis, meaning absolute opposite, is derived from Greek for “ setting opposite,” indicating when something or someone is in direct contrast or the obverse of another thing or person.

Antithesis is an effective literary and rhetorical device , as it pairs exact opposite or contrasting ideas by utilizing the parallel grammatical structure. This helps readers and audience members define concepts through contrast and develop an understanding of something through defining its opposite. In addition, through the use of parallelism , antithesis establishes a repetitive structure that makes for rhythmic writing and lyrical speech.

For example, Alexander Pope states in  An Essay on Criticism , “ To err is human ; to forgive divine.” Pope’s use of antithesis reflects the impact of this figure of speech in writing, as it creates a clear, memorable, and lyrical effect for the reader. In addition, Pope sets human error in contrast to divine forgiveness, allowing readers to understand that it is natural for people to make mistakes, and therefore worthy for others to absolve them when they do.

Examples of Antithesis in Everyday Speech

Antithesis is often used in everyday speech as a means of conveying opposing ideas in a concise and expressive way. Since antithesis is intended to be a figure of speech, such statements are not meant to be understood in a literal manner. Here are some examples of antithesis used in everyday speech:

  • Go big or go home.
  • Spicy food is heaven on the tongue but hell in the tummy.
  • Those who can, do; those who can’t do, teach.
  • Get busy living or get busy dying.
  • Speech is silver but silence is gold.
  • No pain, no gain.
  • It’s not a show, friends; it’s show business.
  • No guts, no glory.
  • A moment on the lips; a lifetime on the hips.
  • If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.

Common Examples of Antithesis from Famous Speeches

Antithesis can be an effective rhetorical device in terms of calling attention to drastic differences between opposing ideas and concepts. By highlighting the contrast side-by-side with the exact same structure, the speaker is able to impact an audience in a memorable and significant way. Here are some common examples of antithesis from famous speeches:

  • “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character .” (Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream”)
  • “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”)
  • “‘Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.'” (Edward Kennedy quoting Robert F. Kennedy during eulogy )
  • “We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom, symbolizing an end as well as a beginning, signifying renewal as well as change.” (John F. Kennedy “Presidential Inaugural Speech”)
  • “You see, for any champion to succeed, he must have a team — a very incredible, special team; people that he can depend on, count on, and rely upon through everything — the highs and lows, the wins and losses, the victories and failures, and even the joys and heartaches that happen both on and off the court.” (Michael Chang “ Induction Speech for Tennis Hall of Fame”)

Examples of Proverbs Featuring Antithesis

Proverbs are simple and often traditional sayings that express insight into truths that are perceived, based on common sense or experience. These sayings are typically intended to be metaphorical and therefore rely on figures of speech such as antithesis. Proverbs that utilize antithetical parallelism feature an antithesis to bring together opposing ideas in defined contrast. Therefore, antithesis is effective as a literary device in proverbs by allowing the reader to consider one idea and then it’s opposite. It also makes for lyrical and easily remembered sayings.

Here are some examples of proverbs featuring antithesis:

  • Cleanliness is next to godliness.
  • Beggars can’t be choosers.
  • Easy come, easy go.
  • Hope for the best; prepare for the worst.
  • Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer.
  • Like father, like son.
  • Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
  • An ounce of protection is worth a pound of cure.
  • Be slow in choosing, but slower in changing.
  • Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.
  • If you can’t beat them, join them.
  • Keep your mouth closed and your eyes open.
  • One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.
  • Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Utilizing Antithesis in Writing

As a literary device, antithesis allows authors to add contrast to their writing. This is effective in terms of comparing two contrasting ideas, such as a character’s conflicting emotions or a setting’s opposing elements. In literature, antithesis doesn’t require a pairing of exact opposites, but rather concepts that are different and distinct. In addition, since antithesis creates a lyrical quality to writing through parallel structure , the rhythm of phrasing and wording should be as similar as possible. Like most literary and rhetorical devices, overuse of antithesis will create confusion or invoke boredom in a reader as well as make the writing seem forced.

Antithesis and Parallelism

Both terms demonstrate a fundamental difference. An antithesis comprises two contradictory ideas and parallelism does not necessarily comprise opposite ideas or persons. It could have more than two ideas or persons. As the name suggests that parallelism is a condition where is an antithesis is an opposition. For example, man proposes, God disposes, has two contradictory ideas. However, it is also a parallel sentence . Furthermore, parallelism occurs mostly in structure and less in ideas. Even similar ideas could occur in parallelism, while an antithesis has only dissimilar ideas.

Antithesis and Juxtaposition

As far as juxtaposition is concerned, it means placing two ideas together that are dissimilar. They need not be opposite to each other. In the case of antithesis, they must be opposite to each other as in the case of man proposes, God disposes. Not only these two ideas are dissimilar, but also they are opposite. In the case of juxtaposition, a poet only puts two ideas together and they are not opposed to each other.

Use of Antithesis in Sentences  

  • As soon he dies, he becomes a dead living.
  • Most people do not understand the value of money when the poor put money ahead of them.
  • Some people make money, while some waste it.
  • Although they have gone leaps ahead, they have also stepped back just in the nick of time.
  • The public comes forward when there is prosperity and moves back when there is adversity.

Examples of Antithesis in Literature

Antithesis is an effective literary device and figure of speech in which a writer intentionally juxtaposes two contrasting ideas or entities. Antithesis is typically achieved through parallel structure, in which opposing concepts or elements are paired in adjacent phrases , clauses , or sentences. This draws the reader’s attention to the significance or importance of the agents being contrasted, thereby adding a memorable and meaningful quality to the literary work.

Here are some examples of antithesis in well-known works of literature:

Example 1:  Hamlet (William Shakespeare)

Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice ; Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.

In Shakespeare’s well-known play , he utilizes antithesis as a literary device for Polonius to deliver fatherly advice to his son before Laertes leaves for France. In these lines, Polonius pairs contrasting ideas such as listening and speaking using parallel structure. This adds a lyrical element to the wording, in addition to having a memorable and foreboding impact on the characters and audience members with the meaning of each line.

Despite the attempt by Polonius to impart logical thinking, measured response, and wise counsel to his son through antithesis, Laertes becomes so fixated on avenging his father’s death that his actions are impulsive and imprudent. Polonius’s antithetical words are not heeded by his son, resulting in the death of several characters including Hamlet and Laertes himself.

Example 2:  Paradise Lost  (John Milton)

Here at least We shall be free; the Almighty hath not built Here for his envy, will not drive us hence: Here we may reign secure, and in my choice To reign is worth ambition though in Hell: Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.

In Milton’s epic poem , he explores the Fall of Satan as well as the temptation and subsequent Fall of Man. This passage is spoken by Satan after he has been condemned to Hell by God for attempting to assume power and authority in Heaven. Satan is unrepentant of his actions, and wants to persuade his followers that Hell is preferable to Heaven.

Satan utilizes antithesis in the last line of this passage to encourage his rebellious followers to understand that, in Hell, they are free and rule their own destiny. In this line, Milton contrasts not just the ideas of Hell and Heaven, but also of reign and servitude as concepts applied to the angels , respectively. Pairing these opposites by using this literary device has two effects for the reader. First, Satan’s claim foreshadows his ability to use his words describing independence to tempt Eve, resulting in her and Adam’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Second, this antithesis invites the reader to consider Satan’s thought-process and experience to gain a deeper understanding of his motives in the poem.

Example 3:  Fire and Ice  (Robert Frost)

Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.

In his poem, Frost utilizes antithesis to contrast fire and ice as elements with devastating and catastrophic potential to end the world. Frost effectively demonstrates the equal powers for the destruction of these elements, despite showcasing them as opposing forces. In this case, the poet’s antithesis has a literal as well as figurative interpretation. As the poem indicates, the world could literally end in the fire as well as ice. However, fire and ice are contrasting symbols in the poem as well. Fire represents “desire,” most likely in the form of greed, the corruption of power, domination, and control. Conversely, ice represents “hate” in the form of prejudice, oppression, neglect, and isolation.

The presence of antithesis in the poem is effective for readers in that it evokes contrasting and powerful imagery of fire and ice as opposing yet physically destructive forces. In addition, the human characteristics associated with fire and ice, and what they represent as psychologically and socially destructive symbols, impact the reader in a powerful and memorable way as well. Antithesis elevates for the reader the understanding that the source of the end of the world may not be natural causes but rather human action or behavior; and that the end of the world may not be simply the destruction of the earth, but rather the destruction of humankind.

Example 4: The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives so that nation might live.
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

These three examples from the address of Abraham Lincoln show the use of contradictory ideas put together in one sentence. They show how he mentions living and dead putting them side by side. This antithesis has helped Lincoln as well as America to come out of the ravages of the Civil War.

Function of Antithesis

An antithesis helps make an idea distinct and prominent when it contradicts another idea in the first part of the argument . This contrastive feature helps make readers make their argument solid, cogent, and eloquent. Sentences comprising anthesis also become easy to remember, quote, and recall when required. When an antithesis occurs in a text, it creates an argumentative atmosphere where a dialectic could take place and helps writers and speakers hook their audience easily with antithetical statements.

Synonyms of Antithesis

Antithesis has no exact synonyms but several words come closer in meanings such as opposite, reverse, converse, reversal, inverse, extreme, another side of the coin, or flip side or contrast.

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  1. Antithesis Chapter 1: Prologue, a harry potter fanfic

    Nails and wood flew, giving a deep cut over the heart of Skylar Potter, painfully waking him up from his dreams, and giving him anguish over the wound. Harry Potter groaned, collapsing backwards in severe weakness. The last remnants of dark magic oozed in a numbing haze through a crack just below the infant's hairline.

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    The writing really could be much better. The author has a tendency to write in this overwrought, overdramatized, overwritten way. The fear of using said, the overuse of adjectives and adverbs, the need to explain every single thing that includes the most mundane of details - it's just way too pretentious to be what I call enjoyable prose.

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    Next Chapter of Antithesis posted on AO3. Due to the Fanfiction.net's Drives, Dives, and Dumpster Fieri, the next chapter of Antithesis is posted on AO3. Once the issue is resolved or at least cleared and somewhat secure, chapter updates will resume. The entire story will be completed on Halloween (October 31st) The next chapter is linked below.

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