Figures of Rhetoric

This week we have started learning about Durand’s Figures of Rhetoric, which can be categorised into four different groups:

  1. Figures of Addition
  2. Figures of Suppression
  3. Figures of Substitution
  4. Figures of Exchange

Valdman_My Masterpiece is Finished

In looking at this political cartoon, I’ve identified the forms of rhetoric which may have been used.

Figures of substitution is the main category which has been used in my opinion, predominantly substitution of similar elements, being a metaphor which allows one figure to stand in for another; in this case, it is the statue and the bulldozer standing in for Gillard’s Carbon Tax policy, and Abbott’s scrapping of it once he was elected. The black smoke coming out of the bulldozer could also represent Abbott’s reticence to acknowledge the impact of Global Warming. False homology is also used here, which uses puns as a play on words – the word ‘finished’ is given two meanings, being completed and destroyed. Figures of addition, particularly double meaning, could also be used here for the same reason.




Reference List:

Valdman n.d., ‘My Masterpiece is Finished’ [image], My Masterpiece is Finished, Pinterest, viewed 6th January 2016,



2 thoughts on “Figures of Rhetoric

  1. Hi Ruby,
    I always enjoy your posts, the way you define semiotics and rhetoric shows your deep understanding of the unit and the role it plays. The cartoon you chose is quite complex, with the need to look at all of the elements to create a meaning/message. Each element has a quality that needs to be interpreted as a whole. Substitution is a strong rhetorical figure here (like you said) as well as figures of addition with double meaning for the bulldozer comes into play. Well done! I look forward to reading more of your posts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s