Metaphor is vital to the language of political leadership because
it mediates between conscious rational ideology and unconscious
myth. Drawing on 'corpus linguistics' techniques, this fascinating
study of political rhetoric shows how metaphor was used by: Winston
Churchill to create a myth of Britain as a heroic warrior; Martin
Luther King to create a myth of himself as a messiah; Margaret
Thatcher to activate the myth of Boedicia; and George W. Bush to
sustain a moral accounting myth that appeals to American ethics.
Rhetorical analysis reveals how Bill Clinton used rhetoric to
restore his credibility through creating a vulnerable image of
moral regeneration, and how Tony Blair developed a conviction
rhetoric in which he is a dynamic agent in a mythological struggle
between good and evil. Comparisons between these politicians serve
to identify the role of metaphor in establishing ethical integrity,
and rhetoric heightening emotional impact, policy communication,
and in political myth creation.
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