Presenting an antithesis well, in a story, can be difficult.
Most people tend to think in terms of protagonist and antagonist, or even two opposing forces. While this is correct to a certain degree, it's not what an antithesis, in a literary work, is. You need to think bigger. Make it grand.
The antagonist can often be a dark mirror of the protagonist, like a reversed image - seemingly opposite but disturbingly similar. An antithesis, on the other hand, is more than that. And there's nothing stopping the antagonist being a servant of the antithesis.
The first examples that spring to mind, for me, are Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series and Raymond E Feists Midkemia saga.
The story, at the heart of it, is one of Light vs Dark. The Light represents creation, life, death and everything in between. The Dark is the absence of all that. It isn't death and destruction (although they are the tools it uses), but the complete and utter removal of everything the light created. The struggle and story are played out through the intermediaries that are the main characters - both protagonists and antagonists, but the true antithesis in the story is the Dark Lord.
Same goes with the Midkemia saga. Despite the epic cast, the ultimate adversary in the stories is The Void/ The Dread. The true antithesis of everything - it doesn't kill so much as obliterate all life.
And this is where it works best, a matter of looking at the Big Picture - the sheer scale behind the story. As Mark said in his answer, it's about contrast. Not Life and Death, but Life and the Complete Absence of Everything. Good and Evil. Chaos and Order. Night and Day etc.