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The Lost Art of the Great Speech: How to Write It * How to Deliver It by Richard Dowis

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Antithesis

Antithesis, another common and useful device, is simply placing an idea next to one to which it is sharply contrasted or directly opposed. Technically, the first idea is called the thesis; the opposing one is called the antithesis, or antithetic statement. But in the study of rhetoric, the device is usually referred to as antithesis. Again, some examples make the definition clear. Patrick Henry's famous ''Give me liberty or give me death'' is a classic one.

The main function of antithesis in a speech is to give emphasis to an idea by placing it next to a contrasting idea. The often-quoted lines from Tennyson's poem, ''The Charge of the Light Brigade,'' illustrate this point:

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do or die

So does ...

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