Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Rhetoric and Professional Communication

First Advisor

Margaret R. Laware


General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte’s regime ruled Chile from 1973 to 1989. During his rule, the dictator gave important speeches at crucial moments in Chile’s historical unfolding. He extensively animated his speeches with metaphors that served specific rhetorical purposes responding to the exigencies of the situations in which they were given. In this thesis, I conduct a rhetorical analysis of the metaphors in three speeches Pinochet gave to the country: the first, a month after seizing power; the second, five years into power; and the third, right after the results of the plebiscite that voted him out of power were known. By utilizing George Osborn’s (1962) scheme of metaphor categorization, I differentiate Pinochet’s metaphors and assess their rhetorical implications. My main findings show how the metaphors he most used served the purpose of rhetorically—in tandem with the brute force of an oppressive regime—enacting a shared identity amongst Chileans against Marxist and Socialist ideologies. The regime rhetorically and forcefully framed the conversation in terms of a state of war, which legitimized a human rights violations that left a toll of thousands of people dead, tortured, and “disappeared.” The metaphors he employed describe a continuous evolutionary trajectory from the first to the second speeches, which is interrupted in the third speech. Because the first introduced the regime, and the second acknowledged what had been done in its first four years and announced what was to be done in the coming few, the rhetoric, thus the metaphors, had to reflect a sense of historical and political continuation. The third speech, however, bookends the beginning of the end of one stage, and proclaims the advent of a new one—one of a significantly different political trajectory.


Copyright Owner

Carlos G. Toledo-Parada



File Format


File Size

102 pages

Included in

Rhetoric Commons