Rhetorical Devices: “Duty, Honor, Country” of Gen. Douglas Macarthur

General Douglas Macarthur has been known and is a profound personality, not only in our country’s history but in the history of the world. This speech was performed when he was to receive an award from his alma mater upon his retirement in the military.

The speech describes the duties, the responsibilities and the honor of being a cadet or a military man which is already established even from its title. In three words, the calling of a military man is already described: Duty, Honor, Country.

From the frequency of the rhetorical devices used, we can say that Macarthur has the gift of rhetoric prowess as every paragraph has devices injected in each. And these rhetorical devices which are tallied in the table above, helps to give a more solid and vivid explanation of the meaning he wishes to convey. The gift of imagination and his poetic side made its way into a literal text and it has truly served its purpose.

Let’s first break all the anaphora examples down. In these following sentences, we can see the repeated first words and/or phrases in a sentence or consecutive sentences.

They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. In these sentences from paragraph 4, the preposition ‘to’ which introduces other phrases in the sentence, is repeated.

The same concept is applied in paragraph 5, where ‘that’ is repeated. Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.

Here are other inflections highlighted:

The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.

But these are some of the things they do: They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation’s defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid. They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for actions, not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future yet never neglect the past; to be serious yet never to take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength

They give you a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?

In the 4th paragraph’s second sentence, Diacope, the repetition of one or more words after the interval of one or more words in a sentence, is applied. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.

And lastly, the first sentence of the same paragraph is an example of Symploce, which is the combination of Anaphora and Epistrophe- the repetition of first and last words. Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.