Shakespeare quotes, notes, timelines & more

Home » Reading Will » Figures of Speech » Figures of Speech by Name » Metonymy

Metonymy

Metonymy is a type of metaphor that substitutes a related attribute for what is meant. If someone asks how many plates there are going to be at dinner, they're asking about the number of guests. Plates are not parts of the guests, they're related to dinner guests. This is different from synecdoche, in which a part of a person or thing refers to the whole, or vice versa. In “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown,” “head” is a synecdoche for the whole person of the king while “crown” is a metonymy for the responsibilities of the monarchy.

Metonymy is an example of:
Substitution

Now is the winter of our discontent

Read the Quote

NowHyperbaton is the winter of our discontentMetaphor
Made glorious summerMetaphor by this son of York,Paronomasia
And all the clouds that louredMetaphor upon our houseMetonymy
In the deep bosom of the ocean MetaphorburiedHyperbaton & Ellipsis.
… continue reading this quote

Why, there’s no remedy

Read the Quote

Iago
Why, there’s no remedy. ‘Tis the curse of service.
Preferment goes by letter and affection,
And not by old gradation, where each second
Stood heir to th’ first. Now, sir, be judge yourself
Whether I in any just term am affined
To love the Moor.
Roderigo
I would not follow him, then.
… continue reading this quote

Troy, yet upon his basis, had been down

Read the Quote

Troy, yet upon his basis, had been down,
And the great Hector’s sword had lacked a masterMetonymy
But for these instances:
The specialty of rule hath been neglected,
And look how many Grecian tents do stand
Hollow upon this plain, so many hollow factions.
When that the general is not like the hive
To whom the foragers shall all repair,

… continue reading this quote

Source:
Act 1
Scene 3
Line 79

Source Type:

Spoken by:

Themes:
, , ,

Figures of Speech:
,

Connected Notes:
Iago and Ulysses on Order and Degree

Why then you must. But hear thee, Gratiano

Read the Quote

Bassanio
Why then you must. But hear thee, Gratiano,
Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice—
Parts that become thee happily enough,
And in such eyes as oursSynecdoche appear not faults.
But where thou art not known—why, there they show
Something too liberal. Pray thee take pain
To allay with some cold drops of modesty
PersonificationThy skipping spirit,

… continue reading this quote

Source:
Act 2
Scene 2
Line 181

Source Type:

Spoken by:
,

Figures of Speech:
, , , ,

Connected Notes:
Appearance and Prejudice

How many thousand of my poorest subjects

Read the Quote

How many thousand of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature’s soft nurse, how have I frightened thee,
That thou no more will weigh my eyelids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?Personification

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.

Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
… continue reading this quote

Source:
Act 3
Scene 1
Line 4

Source Type:

Spoken by:

Themes:
,

Figures of Speech:
, , , ,

Or if you like elsewhere, do it by stealth

Read the Quote

Or if you like elsewhere, do it by stealth,
Muffle your false love with some show of blindness:
Let not my sister read it in your eyeHyperbaton;
Be not thy tongue thy own shame’s oratorHyperbaton and Synecdoche:
Look sweet, speak fair, become disloyaltyIsocolon;
… continue reading this quote

Source:
Act 3
Scene 2
Line 8

Source Type:

Spoken by:

Themes:
,

Figures of Speech:
, , ,

Connected Notes:
Keeping Adultery Hidden

Search out thy wit for secret policies

Read the Quote

Bastard
Search out thy wit for secret policies,
And we will make thee famous through the world.
Alanson, to Pucelle
We’ll set thy statue in some holy place
And have thee reverenced like a blessèd saint.Simile
Employ thee then, sweet virgin, for our good.

O,
… continue reading this quote

The fingers of the powers above

Read the Quote

Soothsayer
The fingers of the powers above do tune
The harmony of this peace.Synecdoche and Metaphor
The vision
Which I made known to Lucius ere the stroke
Of this yet scarce-cold battle at this instant
Is full accomplished. For the Roman eagle,Metonymy
From south to west on wing soaring aloft,
… continue reading this quote

Source:
Act 5
Scene 5
Line 566

Source Type:

Spoken by:
,

Themes:
, ,

Figures of Speech:
, , , ,

Connected Notes:
Love and Water