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Antithesis facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Antithesis (Greek for "setting opposite", from ἀντί "against" and θέσις "placing") is used in writing or speech as a proposition that contrasts with some previously mentioned proposition. This is based on the logical phrase or term.

Antithesis can be defined as "a figure of speech involving a seeming contradiction of ideas, words, clauses, or sentences within a balanced grammatical structure.

According to Aristotle, the use of an antithesis makes the audience better understand the point the speaker is trying to make.

Antitheses are used to strengthen an argument by using either exact opposites or simply contrasting ideas, but can also include both. They typically make a sentence more memorable for the reader or listener through balance and emphasis of the words.

Some literary examples

Some examples of antithesis are:

  • 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, 1863.)
  • For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14])
  • My men have become women, and my women, men. (King Xerxes at the Battle of Salamis (480 BC), according to Herodotus 8.88.3)
  • 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., 1963.)
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