9 junio, 2024

Antithesis: what is it, examples in sentences, songs and poems

We explain what the antithesis is and give numerous examples in sentences, poems and songs.

What is the antithesis?

The antithesis It is a rhetorical figure that is widely used in poetry, and consists of contrasting two terms, verses or phrases where contradictory or opposed ideas are expressed, or where these ideas are contrasted.

For example, when Pablo Neruda says: «love is so short and forgetting is so long» he is contrasting two contrary ideas: the shortness of the feeling of love and the length of oblivion, which is for the rest of life.

Antithesis is a word from the Greek ἀντίθεσις (antithesis), and means opposition, contraposition. Its roots anti (against) and thesis (positioning) indicate the opposition between words that can be contrary or complementary.

In poetry (and many times in everyday life, and even without realizing it) the antithesis is an expressive resource that serves to emphasize an idea or to show, through contrast, the strength of a verbal image.

In philosophy, it is a denial of a previous thesis or proposition, through which that thesis can be refuted. It is especially associated with the philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. (1770-1831), a German idealist.

The antithesis, as a rhetorical figure, is a resource of great expressive force, since by contrasting two ideas or contrasting two opposite images, a notable impact is achieved on the final idea.

The Irish rock group U2 uses the antithesis in one of their most famous songs: «I can’t live with you or without you» (I can’t live with or without you). As you can see, the two opposing ideas express the impossibility of the relationship, where the author cannot live with it or without it: he simply cannot live.

Examples of antithesis in sentences

Manuel reads when I write.
The child cries when the mother sings.
The dog barks for food, but its master does not give it.
Silence was his best company.
Maria climbed the mountain and the wind came down the slope.
The more Daniela tries to forget Willi, the more she remembers him.
The warm woolen gloves soothed her cold.
Maria doesn’t eat to live, she lives to eat.
There are loves that kill with disappointment.
Her eyes were dry from crying so much.
In the silence of the night the cicada could be heard singing.
She opened the door of her heart and he closed it with enthusiasm.
The worst loneliness is feeling alone when accompanied.
My best reward has been losing you.
The ice burned his hands.
The cold of your body warms my heart.
When the sun went down the moon came out.
North is up and South is down.
My break is running.
The rain wets the plants and dries my soul.
The faith of the Christian met the reason of the philosopher.
The joy of Christmas tomorrow will be nostalgia.
During the day I’m thinking about you and at night I’m forgetting you.
The soft breeze hit his face.
Maria said: I laugh so as not to cry.
The light of spring goes out in the summer.
The pleasure turned into a nightmare.
The rooster crows and the hen crows.
The summer heat dried up his soul.
The depth brought him to the pinnacle of knowledge.
When he wanted to go, he had to stay because it was raining.
Manuel got up after the fall and took flight.
The flames that give him heat illuminate his face.
The luck of the ugly the beautiful wish it.
The company of the diners made him feel lonely.
Peter lost hope and found bitterness.

Examples of antithesis in poems

Once upon a time there was a good little wolf who was mistreated by all the lambs (José Agustín Goytisolo).
The heart is fed up, the world is empty (Novalis).
Love is so short and forgetting is so long (Pablo Neruda).
The roses rose early to bloom, / and to grow old they flourished, / they found a cradle and grave in a button (Pedro Calderón de La Barca).
When I want to cry I don’t cry and sometimes I cry without wanting to (Rubén Darío).
Constant love beyond death (Francisco de Quevedo).
Better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven (John Milton).
Because where some empty sockets dawn / she will place two stones of future gaze / and she will make new arms and new legs grow in the felled meat (Miguel Hernández).
It is scorching ice, it is icy fire, / it is a wound that hurts and cannot be felt, / it is a good dream, a bad present, / it is a short, very tired rest (Francisco de Quevedo).
Understanding / that he knows that I love him, / that I hate him with affection and that he is, in short, indifferent to me… (César Vallejo).
They do not measure the same / full distances / and empty distances (Roberto Juarroz).
This love that wants to be / perhaps will soon be; / but when will it come back / what just happened? / Today is far from yesterday / Yesterday is Never Never (Antonio Machado).
I live without living in myself / and I hope for such a high life, / that I die because I do not die (Saint Teresa of Ávila).
It is the disaster / It is the hour of the non-empty emptiness (Alejandra Pizarnik).
I (…) who do not cry when I feel like doing so (…) / I am not what I am or what I am not (Rafael Cadenas).
It matters to smell crazy, postulating / how warm is the snow, how fleeting the turtle! (Cesar Vallejo).
(…) and when cutting you / the knife in the kitchen / the only tear rises without pity. / You made us cry without afflicting us (Pablo Neruda).
This is the song of my land, / the song of my kingdom. / But if my kingdom is rotten / its spirit is eternal (León Felipe).
And then the one who brings him to his side / is beautiful, even if he is fierce, / powerful gentleman / is Don Dinero (Francisco de Quevedo).
And there was also / a bad prince, / a beautiful witch / and an honest pirate (José Agustín Goytisolo).

Examples of antithesis in songs

I can’t live with you or without you (U2, “I can’t live with or without you”).
I prefer the roads to the borders (Joan Manuel Serrat, “Every crazy man with his theme”).
I didn’t know that spring lasted a second (Joaquín Sabina, “The most beautiful song in the world”).
I have died many times / riddled with bullets in the city. / But it is better to be dead / than a number that comes and goes (Charly García, “The Canterville Ghost”).
I am a mouse from your mousetrap / a trap that does not kill / but does not release / I live dying as a prisoner (Maná, «Treacherous Butterfly»).
I loved her so much / that it took me to learn to forget her / nineteen days / and five hundred nights (Joaquín Sabina, “19 days and 500 nights”).
Lady / do not take years from your life / give life to the years (Ricardo Arjona, «Lady of the four decades»).
I am too old for rock’n’roll and too young to die (Jethro Tull, “Too old to rock’n’roll and too young to die).
With her I discovered that there are eternal loves / that last as long as a short winter lasts (Joaquín Sabina, “Eternal loves”).
That the blinds correct the dawn / that the will win, the war of the can, / that those who wait do not count the hours, / that those who kill die of fear (Chavela Vargas, «Wedding Nights»).
My eyes hurt from looking without seeing you (Lola Flores, “Ay, pena, penita, pena”).
I had the end and it was more / I had the most and it was the end (Charly García, “Tu amor”).
And although I know that you will never come back / I will wait for you, I will wait for you / even if you don’t come back again (Juan Gabriel, “It is raining”).
I will listen to you / with all the silence on the planet (Café Tacuba, “Las flores”).
By your side I don’t feel the hours that go by with time / I don’t even remember that I carry a fatal wound on my chest / I don’t feel the sound of rain and wind with you / because I carry your love on my chest like a madrigal ( Danny Rivera, «Madrigal»).
Cecilia looks for impossible loves, that’s why our love was possible (Fito Páez, “Cecilia”).
And die with you if you kill yourself / and kill me with you if you die / because love kills when it doesn’t die / because loves that kill never die (Joaquín Sabina, “With you”).
Eternal life only lasts a while (Fito Páez, «The fish lives through the mouth»).
And in the heat of the champagne, / crazy, you laughed so as not to cry (Susana Rinaldi, “Los marados”).
Love me as lovers hate (Joaquín Sabina, «Run, said the turtle»).

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