Why do authors use antithesis? I know what antithesis means, but I just want to know, what's the point of using antithesis in a story?

1 Answer
Jun 5, 2016

Antithesis is a good way to illustrate conflict or contrast in literature.


A classic example of antithesis in literature is the opening of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities : "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..."

In this case, antithesis is used to emphasize the turbulent setting of the book, and to foreshadow the conflict in the story.

Another example of antithesis can be found in Joseph Heller's novel Catch-22 (the book has many examples, but this is only one): "He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt, and his only mission each time he went up was to come down alive."

Here, the antithetical contrast of living and dying serve to emphasize the desperation in the main character's situation.