Metaphor Examples and Definitions - Literary Media (2023)

definition of metaphor

A metaphor is a figure of speech that compares two subjects without using "like" or "like". The metaphor is often confused withparable, which compares two subjects by associating them with "like" or "like" (for example, "She is in good health"). While a simile asserts that one thing is like another, a metaphor asserts that one thingesthe other or a substitute for the other.

A metaphor asserts a correlation or similarity between two things that are unrelated. The English word "metaphor" comes from the Greek metaphorá, which means "to transfer" or "to carry". In effect, a metaphor transfers meaning from one topic to another, allowing the target topic to be understood in new ways.

Rhetoricians have further elaborated the definition of metaphor by separating and naming the two key elements. There are a few different names for these two parts: they can be called "Tenor" and "Vehicle", "Background" and "Character" or "Target" and "Source". Consider this famous metaphor example from Shakespeare's As Ye Like It:

The whole world is a stage
And all male and female players only.

In this example, the world is the main subject and takes on stage (ie theater) attributes. Thus, in binary pairs, the world is the "content", the "background" and the "target", while the environment is the "vehicle", the "figure" and the "source".

Difference between metaphor and simile and other types of analogies

The metaphor is kindAnalogy, which is a class of language idioms that make comparisons between different objects. Other examples of analogies are similes, allegories, exaggerations, and puns. Here are the main differences between these different terms:

  • parable: As mentioned above, a simile postulates a resemblance or resemblance between two things, associating them with “as” or “as”. Because a metaphor asserts that one thing is really identical to another, it is often seen as a stronger form of analogy than a simile. For example, saying "Frank is a pig" is a stronger expression of disgust than "Frank is a pig".
  • allegories: An allegory is a complete story using aextended metaphorthroughout the story to illustrate complex ideas in an understandable way. George Orwell's NovelQuintalis an allegory that uses the expanded metaphor of animals starting a revolution on their farm to characterize characters in the Russian Revolution.
  • hyperbel: Exaggeration compares or exaggerates things to make them stand out. For example, it's common to say "I'm starving" when you're just hungry, or "I'm freezing" when you're really cold. The state of starvation is much more serious than simple hunger, which is why we say that we are starving to emphasize the need for food.
  • Retruecan: A play on words is used as a metaphorComparisonmake cognitive connections between two things. The difference between the two terms is that a play on words has a comic effect. For example, "I'm glad I know sign language, that's really helpful." In this pun, the word "practical" refers to both the usefulness of sign language and the fact that sign language can be used by the hands of the dependent speaker.

Examples of common language metaphors

Many common idioms are metaphors. These are just some examples:

  • Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
  • torrential rain.
  • Never look a gift horse in the teeth.
  • People who live in greenhouses should not throw stones.
  • A stored pot never boils over.

The importance of metaphor in literature

Metaphor is a key component of all forms of literature, including poetry,Prose, jtheater. This is not only because metaphor is a very useful literary device, but also because it is an essential part of any language and communication. Many cognitive theorists have researched and written about the importance of metaphors in our understanding of the world around us. For example, in Western culture, the expression "time is money" is widely used. However, this isn't just a cliché; We talk about time in terms of wasted time, expense, savings, etc. The metaphorical comparison of these two concepts ends up affecting the way people of all cultures perceive time.

No wonder, then, that there are examples of metaphors in the literature of every culture. The use of metaphors allows authors to present unfamiliar ideas or situations in a way that the reader can understand by comparing unknown things with known things. This can be a good technique foridiotScience fiction writers or writers to make the worlds they create seem more familiar to the reader. But metaphors can also be used to compare common things. This kind of usage creates a cognitive connection between previously unrelated objects and allows the reader to appreciate them in new ways.

Examples of literary metaphors

Example 1

ROMEO: But soft! What light comes through the window?
It is the east and Juliet is the sun.

(Cheese and guavaGuilherme Shakespeare)

Shakespeare is considered one of the most famous novels of all time.Cheese and guavahas many oft-quoted lines about love. Along these lines, Romeo uses the metaphor of Juliet as the rising sun to demonstrate his devotion. Dawn can signify new hope, which is how Romeo sees his relationship with Juliet. Furthermore, the planet revolves around the sun and Romeo feels that his world now revolves around Juliet.

Example #2

He says you have to study and study so you can decide about history and all that, but you can't decide empty-handed. Save your mind, save your mind. You may be poor, your shoes may be broken, but your mind is a palace.

(angela's ashesvon Frank McCourt)

Frank McCourtStore angela's ashesit's all about the poverty he grew up in. However, this beautiful excerpt shows how he was able to conceive of his life with so much potential. Although McCourt was poor, he could imagine his mind as a palace and therefore possessed incredible wealth.

Example #3

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness
starving hysterically naked...
...that disappeared and were left behind in the volcanoes of Mexico
nothing but the shadow of the apes and the lava and ash of
Poetry spread from chimney in Chicago.

("Howling" by Allen Ginsberg)

Allen Ginsberg's 1955 poem "Howl" contains stunning imagery and wild descriptions. In this particularly graphic stretch, Ginsberg slidesPhotosfrom Mexican volcanoes to the "lava and ashes of poetry" left in chimneys. The unexpectedSide to sideof these two images is a good example of how metaphors can work to expand a reader's conceptual base for a concept, in this case through poetry.

Test your knowledge of metaphors

1. What is the definition of a correct metaphor?
A.A comparison between two things for comic effect.
B.A comparison between two things with "like" or "like".
C.A comparison between two things that establishes one thing.esThe other thing.

Answer to question #1Show

2. Why is the following excerpt from "After Apple Picking" by Robert Frost an example of a metaphor?

...could be two or three
Apples I haven't plucked from a branch.
But now I'm done picking apples.
The essence of hibernation lies in the night,
The smell of apples; I go deaf

I had a lot
apple picking; I am very tired
Of the great harvest I coveted myself.

A.The speaker in the poem thinks of wasted apples and wishes he had picked those apples too.
B.The speaker in the poem compares the work of picking apples to life itself and feels that at the end of life he is ready to rest/die instead of continuing to work.
C.The speaker in the poem wishes he had more energy to pick apples.

Answer to question #2Show

3. Which of the following lines from Shakespeare'sSo cool18” contains a metaphor?

A."Shall I compare you to a summer's day?"
B."But your eternal summer won't disappear"
C."As long as people can breathe or eyes can see"

Answer to question #3Show


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Catherine Tremblay

Last Updated: 19/11/2023

Views: 6247

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Catherine Tremblay

Birthday: 1999-09-23

Address: Suite 461 73643 Sherril Loaf, Dickinsonland, AZ 47941-2379

Phone: +2678139151039

Job: International Administration Supervisor

Hobby: Dowsing, Snowboarding, Rowing, Beekeeping, Calligraphy, Shooting, Air sports

Introduction: My name is Catherine Tremblay, I am a precious, perfect, tasty, enthusiastic, inexpensive, vast, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.