The rhetorical figure antithesis is "a contrast or opposition in the meanings of contiguous phrases or clauses that is emphasized by parallellism—that is, a similar order and structure—in the syntax." (Abrams 1993: 10) For instance:

The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace. (II ii 88)

Rhetorical figures are frequent in the play, such as aphorisms, conceits, stichomythia, and many more. See Brooks 1983: xlv-l) for examples.

Antithetical structures also abound at the thematical level, for instance in the contrasts and conflicts between day and night, the human and the non-human, the city and the woods and between individual desire and society's demands.

 These thematical antitheses can be shown to give the play a symmetrical structure.