Publication details [#3674]

Cotterill, Janet. 1998. "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit": Metaphor and the O. J. Simpson criminal trial. Revista Todas as Musas 5 (2) : 141–158. 18 pp.


The use of metaphor in the prosecution and defense closing arguments of the O.J. Simpson criminal trial is analyzed as a conceptualizing device for both the trial and its participants. The relative distribution of these representations is examined, including military, sporting and theatrical metaphors. It is shown that these metaphorical constructs serve very different functions; in the prosecution closing argument as a structuring device, and in the defense equivalent as a dramatic highlighter of particular individuals and events. The paper continues with a detailed analysis of two specific metaphorical references: the criminal trial as the completion of a jigsaw puzzle and Simpson, the defendant, as an unpredictable time-bomb. (LLBA 1999, vol..33, n. 3)