Anthypophora

An Introduction to Anthypophora

Anthypophora is a rhetorical device which consists in a pre–emptiveOpens in new window measure by anticipating objection before it happens; therefore reasoning with oneself by raising and answering objections that may arise from the opposition.

Anthypophora is related (or so to say, closely related) with hypophoraOpens in new window. Attempts to differentiate each one from the other have remain a puzzling continuum; infact some rhetors believe both terms are equal, and scholars of this view often use both terms interchangeably.

Ingenious rhetors have made extensive effort to offer precise views as to the relationship, and some concedes, that Hypophora is to be treated as the statement or question, while the Anthypophora is that answer which is provided. However, in the scope of this study, both terms are treated singly as one.

Usefulness of Anthypophora

  1. The figure if used properly may heighten interest by creating a moment of suspense. The speaker offers a little mystery, asking a question that the listener would not be in capacity to answer, at least not readily; then the purpose is achieved.
  2. Anthypophora or Hypophora tends to create a bit of involvement with the listener, putting questions to the audience explicitly.
  3. The speaker’s question may provide a motive for offering the answer, and so provide an excuse for what is said next; the speaker does not make a statement gratuitously, but merely answers a question, whether actually asked or anticipated from the audience.
  4. With Anthypora or Hypophora, the speaker may suggests questions that the audience might like to ask, and then answers them.
Notable Examples of Anthypophora
    Anthypophora flourishes in the Bible, a prominent example is in Mathew 21:23-15:
  • “The chief Priests and the Elders of the People came unto Christ, as he was teaching and said, By what authority dost thou these things? And Jesus answered, and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The Baptism of John, whence was it? From Heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, sayin, If we shall say from Heaven, he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say of men, we fear the People …”
  • “Kentucky is entirely covered with slavery; Ohio is entirely free from it: What made that difference? Was it climate? No. A portion of Kentucky was farther north than this portion of Ohio. Was it soil? No. There is nothing in the soil of the one more favorable to slave labor than the other. it was not climate or soil that mused one side of the line to be entirely covered with slavery, and the other side free of it. What was it? Study over it. Tell us, if you can, in all the range of conjecture, if there be anything you can conceive of that made that difference, other than that there was no law of any sort keeping it out of Kentucky, while the Ordinance of ’87 kept it out of Ohio.”
  • — (Lincoln, Speech at Cincinnati, 1859)
  • “You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land, and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terrors, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”
  • — (Churchill)
  • “But whom, in the name of common sense, will have to represent us? Not the rich, for they are sheer aristocrats. Not the learned, the wise, the virtuous, for they are all aristocrats. Whom then? Why, those who are not virtuous; those who are not wise; those who are not learned: these are the men to whom alone we can trust our liberties.”
  • — (Livingston, speech at New York Ratifying Convention, 1788)
  • “If they were not driven out, but remained there as trespassers upon the public land in violation of the law, can they establish slavery there? No; the judge says popular sovereignty don’t pertain to them then. Can they exclude it then? No; popular sovereignty don’t pertain to them then. I would like to know, in the case covered by the essay, what condition the people of the Territory are in before they reach the number of ten thousand?
  • —(Lincoln, Speech at Columbus, 1859).
  • “What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage!”
  • —(The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, 1939)
  • “If you ask me “Why should not the people make their own laws?” I need only ask you, “Why should not the people write their own plays? They cannot.”
  • —(Shaw, The Apple Cart ,1929)
    President Barack Obama's Use of Anthypophora:
  • “This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.
    ‘And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we’re meeting our obligations?’
    ‘Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?’
    ‘Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return?’
    ‘Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?’
    ‘I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.’ ”
  • —(U.S. President Barack Obama, speech at a memorial service in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 16, 2012, two days after the massacre of 26 children and adults in an elementary school)
Further Readings:
George Puttenham | The Art of English Poesy, Critical Edition:AnthypophoraOpens in new window
Gregory T. Howard | Dictionary Of Rhetorical Terms:AnthypophoraOpens in new window
ThoughtCo. | Glossaries of Literary Terms: AnthypophoraOpens in new window