“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” Shakespeare’s words have a ring of truth, even though they might not be literally true. Metaphors like this one help bring ideas to life, but what is a metaphor? Metaphors are a type of figurative language. Figurative language uses figures of speech to make written and verbal communication more effective, easier to understand, and more striking. Metaphors are a specific type of figurative language called imagery. There are seven types of imagery in figurative language. Similes, metaphors, and allusions use non-literal comparisons that illuminate ideas. Personification uses a non-literal comparison exclusively to a person: as in “The leaf danced across the lawn.” Alliteration, assonance, and onomatopoeia use sounds to create different feelings in the audience than the literal words would normally convey. Getting back to our specific topic, metaphors are words or phrases that compare two things. Unlike a simile, they do not use the words “like” or “as” to compare the words. Instead, they state that one thing “is” another thing. Like in the quote from Shakespeare, the world “is” a stage. Metaphors are used in literature, movies, plays, and even in day-to-day speech. You might even find yourself using metaphors without realizing it! Some commonly used metaphors include: “Love is a battlefield.” “There is a blanket of clouds.” “Time is a thief.” “He is a night owl.” All these examples compare two things directly. Love is compared to a battle, clouds are compared to blankets, time is compared to a thief, and a man is compared to an owl. Of course, we know that a man is not literally an owl, but the comparison helps us to visualize things in a much more vibrant way. How boring would it be to say, “He likes to stay up late at night on a consistent basis.”
In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?” The first line of the poem says the tiger is “burning bright.” Of course, the tiger is not literally on fire, but this comparison is used as a metaphor to illustrate the tiger’s bright color and even the tiger’s dangerous nature. Like getting burned by a fire, the tiger can be a dangerous beast. In the novel “A Little Princess”, the author Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote: “She looked as if she had never had quite enough to eat. Her very eyes were hungry.” As you can see, metaphors help make language more colorful and easier to understand by bringing new color and life into common objects and ideas. I hope that this video has helped you understand more about metaphors. Thanks so much for watching. See you guys next time and, as always, happy studying!