Qualities of expression: Force -- Antithesis

In Nuce: Antithesis
Force: Antithesis is an arrangement that emphasizes contrast.
(From Classics Illustrated, Vol. 13, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
From Beginnings of Rhetoric and Composition, by Adams Hill:



Force may sometimes be gained by an arrangement that emphasizes the contrast between two opposing ideas.
A: Under the most trying circumstances, any one could concentrate his attention on The Heart of Midlothian; but nothing less than a college examination would make one read Mansfield Park.
B: Anyone could concentrate his attention on the Heart of Midlothian under the most trying circumstances, but as for Mansfield Park — a college examination paper to pass would  be the least that would be needed to make one read it.
In Sentence B, the important words Heart of Midlothian and Mansfield Park are hidden by other words; in Sentence A, they are prominent, and are so placed that the contrast between them is emphasized. Words thus contrasted are said to be in antithesis.
The best way of learning how to apply the principle of antithesis effectively is to study its application in the works of good authors. For example: —
Though his pen was now idle, his tongue was active. — Macaulay.

You began with betraying the people: you conclude with betraying the king. — Junius.

Dryden is sometimes vehement and rapid; Pope is always smooth, uniform, and gentle. Dryden's page is a natural field, rising into inequalities, and diversified by the varied exuberance of abundant vegetation; Pope's is a velvet lawn, shaven by the scythe, and levelled by the roller. ... If the flights of Dryden . . . are higher, Pope continues longer on the wing. If of Dryden's fire the blaze is brighter, of Pope's the heat is more regular and constant. Dryden often surpasses expectation, and Pope never falls below it. Dryden is read with frequent astonishment, and Pope with perpetual delight. — Samuel Johnson.

The arguments on both sides were invincible. For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery; but in fact, eleven men well armed will certainly subdue one single man in his shirt. — Swift.

Lord Byron's verse glows like a flame, consuming everything in its way; Sir Walter Scott's glides like a river, — clear, gentle, harmless.— Hazlitt.

Those are disjointed stones; these are an elaborate and magnificent structure. Those are raw material in its earliest stage; these are co-ordinated, and in co-ordination modified by the hand of a master. — Gladstone.

I never could understand why any one should be ashamed to confess his knowledge of what he does know, or his ignorance of what he does not know. — E. A. Freeman.

There is no place where the young are more gladly conscious of their youth, or the old better contented with their age. — Stevenson.
Each of these passages gains in force by an arrangement which makes the words, phrases, or clauses that form one side of the contrast correspond to, or balance, those that form the other side.

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