Antiphrasis originated from the Greek word antiphrasis, which approach “opposite word.” Antiphrasis is a figurative speech wherein a phrase or phrase is hired in a way this is contrary to its literal meaning, a good way to create an ironic or comic effect. In simple words, it's far the use of phrases or words in their contrary feel from the actual meaning.
The following is an instance of antiphrasis:
“Yes, I killed him. I killed him for money–and a woman–and I didn’t get the money and I didn’t get the woman. Pretty, isn’t it…” (Double Indemnity, by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler).
Here, the speaker is making an ironic statement via the use of the opposite sense of the word “quite.” He has dedicated murder, yet he describes his act “pretty.”
Examples of Antiphrasis in Literature
Example #1: Home to Harmony (By Philip Gulley)
“Owen might simply smile and eat his eggs, and maybe attain over and slap Ernie’s lower back and say, ‘That’s real funny, Ernie. You’re pretty clever.’ All the even as thinking to himself, you moron. What do you know? … Which, of course, he couldn’t say out loud. He could suppose it, but he couldn’t say it. When you’re a public parent in a small town, you have to treat humans with dignity, even Ernie Matthews …”
In this instance, Owen is mocking Ernie Matthews. He comments that Ernie is “pretty clever,” but what he truely thinks deep inside him is the complete opposite to the literal meaning of the word.
Example #2: Filthy Rich (By Dorothy Samuels)
“I was awakened with the aid of the dulcet tones of Frank, the morning doorman, alternately yelling my name, ringing my doorbell, and pounding on my condominium door …”
Here, the real meaning of the word “dulcet tones” approach melodious tones. In this unique situation, it's miles utilized in its opposite meaning. The speaker is trying to use irony to suggest that the doorman irritates him early inside the morning through yelling, ringing the bell, and knocking on his door.
Example #3: Oyster Blues (By Michael McClelland)
“He appeared like a Vulcan clean emerged from his forge, a misshapen large not pretty sure of the way to maneuver in this bright new world … His real name, the name given to him via his youthful mother before she deserted him in a Brooklyn orphanage, become Thomas Theodore Puglowski, but his pals all referred to as him Tiny … At least, Tiny supposed, they could if he had any pals …”
In this excerpt, the writer first describes a man or woman named Thomas Theodore Puglowski, as “a misshapen massive,” and then makes use of the word “tiny.” Antiphrasis examples like this are supposed to convey sarcasm and create funny effect.
Example #4: Julius Caesar (By William Shakespeare)
“I did mark how he did shake … tis proper this god did shake … His coward lips did from their colour fly …”
In these lines, Cassius, in spite of knowing the worldly flaws of Caesar, makes an ironic statement and calls him “this god” for comedian and ironic effect.
Example #5: The Unknown Citizen (By W. H. Auden)
“Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the right opinions in the course of year;
When there was peace, he changed into for peace; when there has been war, he went.
He become married and delivered five youngsters to the population,
Which our Eugenist says become the right variety for a parent of his generation.
And our teachers file that he in no way interfered with their education.
Was he unfastened? Was he satisfied? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should sincerely have heard …”
This is an ironic poem based totally upon the modern shape of government, which appreciates those citizens who agree to its rules, without thinking about whether an individual citizen is satisfied and loose or not.
Function of Antiphrasis
Like different rhetorical devices, antiphrasis also brings approximately additional meanings to a textual content and situation. The use of contrary meanings of conditions and statements in literature draws readers’ interest. Besides, it makes the literary piece of writing extra captivating, and allows the readers employ their own thoughts, and apprehend the underlying that means of the phrases and phrases. It is additionally often hired in everyday situations and expressions. Furthermore, it brings the literary piece of writing nearer to actual life.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw