Antitheton (an-tith’-e-ton): A proof or composition constructed of contraries. Antitheton is closely related to and sometimes confused with the figure of speech that juxtaposes opposing terms, antithesis. However, it is more properly considered a figure of thought (=Topic of Invention: Contraries [a topic of invention in which one considers opposite or incompatible things that are of the same kind (if they are of different kinds, the topic of similarity / difference is more appropriate). Because contraries occur in pairs and exclude one another, they are useful in arguments because one can establish one’s case indirectly, proving one’s own assertion by discrediting the contrary]).
Him: Opposites attract. I’ve heard that so many times. Did you ever see hot and cold running toward each other like soup and ice? The soup melts the ice. The ice cools off the soup. What kind of attraction is that? They kill each other. What about light and dark? A cheap flashlight will make the dark into light. I don’t see how they’re attracted to each other. If they were attracted, they wouldn’t cancel each other out.
Her: As usual you’ve got it wrong. It isn’t natural order (except for magnets) that the saying pertains to. It’s people and their character attributes, their life choices, their preferences, their manners. “You say tomato, I say tomahto. You say potato, I say potahto.” You have a smell that I find repelling and compelling. I shower every day and smell like a rose, and you like it. You like to bike, I like to jog. I think biking is sexy—your legs and buns in motion. You think jogging is sexy, the way I jiggle and sweat. There are a ton more examples—we’re not soup and ice.
Him: But shouldn’t we have common likes and dislikes too?
Her: Of course! What we like in common is each other. If we just liked what’s the same about us, it would be like being alone, looking in a mirror. Come here honey! Let me smell your neck!
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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