The Use of Metaphors, Repetition of Words and Biblical References in Obama’s Speech of Inauguration Based on “Analyzing Political Discourses” Theory and Practice by Paul Chilton

Topics: Discourse, Discourse analysis, United States Pages: 9 (2905 words) Published: March 28, 2013
The use of metaphors, repetition of words and biblical references in Obama’s speech of inauguration based on
“Analyzing Political Discourses” Theory and Practice
Paul Chilton

Number of Words: 2589

Political discourses are made to impress, persuade and to underline ideas to change a country. Politicians use specialized writers to write for them their discourses or use a lot of time to write one, as political discourses are important for the future outcome. For example: To be voted by the people or explain bad situation on an adequate way so that the people don’t offended. To achieve this goal, several methods are used. But in this essay I will focus on metaphors, the repetition of specified words and the use of Biblical references, using methods given by Paul Chilton in his book “Analyzing Political Discourse, Theory and Practice”. As experimental territory I used the inaugural speech of Barrack Obama, which he used for his first candidature to become the president of the United States of America. The Speech by Barrack Obama can be found in the Appendix. My goal is not only to see what and how he used the methods but also what goal he tried to achieve. It is important to have some background information and what the people thought of him. As for America and other parts in the world, Obama stands for a new ideology, he promises America better healthcare, the end of the War and solutions to many problems, always emphasizing that this goal can only achieved as a team/nation but does he succeed to give us this image? What tricks did he use?

What is a metaphor?
Metaphors are used in political discourses to replace words that the audience doesn’t want to hear or could react badly. But what is a metaphor? In literary use, a metaphor (from the Greek: metapherin rhetorical trope)[1] is defined as an indirect comparison between two or more subjects that are typically linked by a “is a” to join the two subjects. As an example we can take following sentence: ” This Man is a beast “. This is an elliptical form to emphasize the sentence that the Man is like a beast. Paul Chilton is the opinion that, Metaphors, qua models of political realities, as he calls them, are part of political discourses of today and used as vehicles to bring an opinion to a target.[2] We realize now that all of us speak in metaphors whether we realize it or not. For example Mark Johnson, a philosopher, suggests that metaphors not only make our thoughts more vivid and interesting but that they actually structure and individualize our perceptions and understanding such that each person has a different understanding and thoughts about a common subject.[3] Metaphor is for many people a device of poetic and rhetorical imagination and development rather than the ordinary language, which is wrong as proven above.

Metaphor analysis in Barrack Obama’s Speech:

In the following points I will reveal several metaphors Obama used and will try to reveal why he used them. But also the Biblical references used as a metaphor, or as a bridge to transfer his Ideas.

Citation out of the Speech:
1) “Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. “ 2) “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.”

In the first citation “rising tides” and “still waters” are used as source domains, whereas the target domain is the word “prosperity” and “peace”. As it can be seen in the phrases: “rising tides of prosperity” and “the still waters of peace” here, the...
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