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Metaphor

Metaphor (met’-a-phor) is an implied comparison between two unlike things. “Lo, in these windows that let forth thy life / I pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes.” Richard III, 1.2.1

Metaphor is an example of:
Comparison

Characters, Actors and Figurative Language

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Early in Henry VIII, Anne Bullen, young and beautiful, considers the prospect of a prosperous future. In the same scene, Anne’s companion, the old lady, sardonically remarks on her lost youth and unfulfilled aspirations for wealth and position at court. The contrast of these two characters is clear, but Shakespeare uses more than casting, makeup, costumes, or even the subject matter of their opening dialogue,
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Unhappy Fortune! The Plague in the Plays

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Shakespeare killed scores of his characters — by sword, by dagger, by poison, by flame, by drowning, by hanging, by murder, by suicide, by accident — men, women, children, all ages, killed by many means, even by a bear. But the deaths of only two of his central characters can be attributed to the plague, and even then, only by proximate cause, not directly by the plague.
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Iago and Ulysses on Order and Degree

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Ulysses and Iago express similar themes about order and degree. Iago speaks more specifically about seniority versus affections and recommendations.
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Lear: Act One Scene One

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King Lear’s first scene is notable in its length and structure. At over 300 lines, with more characters on stage than in all but the last scene of the play, and being divided into three sub-scenes, this first scene is almost a play in itself.

It begins, as do so many of Shakespeare’s plays,
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Learning by Living

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In Love’s Labors Lost, Armado’s exclamation about the boy’s “Sweet smoke of rhetoric” complements the boy’s previous remark about his “penny of observation.” These two metaphors capture Shakespeare’s genius, both to observe and to poetically express human nature. In Love’s Labor’s Lost, the country boy, not the nobility, possesses these qualities.
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Blood and Humanity

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In the Merchant of Venice, the Prince of Morocco’s “And let us make incision for your love To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine,” introduces the theme of superficial differences masking intrinsic similarities, the most intrinsic being that we share a common humanity. It foreshadows Shylock’s “If you prick us, do we not bleed” 
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Income Inequality

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In Coriolanus,  Menenius Agrippa extemporizes on an ancient version of modern day trickle-down economics. In his extended metaphor, Menenius compares the digestive and circulatory systems of the body to the economics of upper-class Romans massing wealth and food for their benefit, which he claims eventually circulates out to the masses for their benefit. The hungry poor are more persuaded by their empty stomachs than by Menenius’s intellectual reasoning and promises.
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Double Cherries and Drops of Water

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In A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Helena’s expression of love as a union that makes a couple one inseparable being —

We, Hermia, like two artificial gods,
Have with our needles created both one flower,
Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion,
Both warbling of one song, both in one key,
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Political Rhetoric and the Masses

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Brutus’s tour de force of interwoven rhetorical devices in Julius Caesar (3.2.14) sways the crowd away from their anger at the assassins to cheering them. This speech, however, is outdone by Mark Antony’s masterpiece of manipulation (3.2.82), which whiplashes the crowd back to outrage and riot. But, in fact, Brutus had failed in his speech even before Mark Antony opened his mouth.
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Hamlet’s First Soliloguy

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This is Hamlet’s first extended soliloquy.
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Tombs and Wombs

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Friar Lawrence’s rumination on soil as both a tomb and a womb works as a metaphor of one of the play’s central themes. The “misadventure’d piteous overthrows” of  Romeo and Juliet in the Capulet tomb at the end of the play gave birth to a growth of amity between their two families.
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Caves, Temples & Palaces

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Juliet’s biting reference to Romeo as “a gorgeous palace,” when she hears that Romeo has killed her cousin, contrasts with Romeo’s earlier reference to Juliet as “this holy shrine.” Both metaphors are echoed about fifteen years later near the end of Shakespeare’s career when Miranda in The Tempest speaks of Ferdinand in a similar figure of speech.
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Richard III and the Sonnet

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“Now is the winter of our discontent” is nearly as familiar as Hamlet’s, “To be, or not to be” and Mark Antony’s, “Friends, Romans, countrymen”. Not one of these three passages is a dramatic dialogue. Mark Antony addresses a large Roman crowd in an extended speech. Hamlet muses to himself in a soliloquy while we the audience listen in.
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Birds — Martial and Marital

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In Hamlet (1.1.432), a cock trumpets in the morn, a bird more fitting to the combative nature of Hamlet than the lark that heralds the morn after the first night of marital bliss in Romeo and Juliet (3.5.6).
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Sonnets in Romeo and Juliet

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Shakespeare, who had begun writing his sonnets sometime in the 1590’s, decided that the form would be useful in Romeo and Juliet. In fact, he wrote four sonnets in the play. The first, spoken by a chorus, opens Act 1. The second appears in Act 1, Scene 5, and it is dialogue spoken by Romeo and Juliet.
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Love and Water

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The Comedy of Error’s concluding dialogue between Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse neatly ties up an underlying theme of this farce, that true love — brotherly, marital or other — renders the lovers indistinguishable, “Methinks you are my glass, and not my brother.” But this metaphor of the mirror at the end of the play is a shift from the similes of drops of water that recurred previously.
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Seasons, Elements and Humors

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The four seasons, the four elements and the four humors were all related. The four seasons spring, summer, autumn and winter paralleled the four humors blood/sanguine, yellow bile/choleric, phlegm/phlegmatic and black bile/melancholic, which in turn paralleled the four elements air, fire, water and earth. Good health and good disposition of character or personality were believed to be a matter of keeping one’s humors in proper balance.
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How oft, when thou, my music, music play’st

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How oft, when thou, my music, music play’stAnastrophe, Antanaclasis, Epizeuxis & Metaphor
Upon that blessèd wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway’st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,Anastrophe & Synecdoche
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,Personification

Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,
At the wood’s boldness by thee blushing stand.Metaphor & Personification

To be so tickled they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O’er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,Catachresis
Making dead wood more blest than living lips.
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.Ellipsis, Hyperbaton & Zeugma

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

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Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.Synecdoche
Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds
Or bends with the remover to remove.Polyptoton

O, no, it is an ever-fixèd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,Metaphor

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.Litotes

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Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

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Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?Rhetorical Question
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,Metaphor & Hyperbaton
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;Personification
And every fair from fair sometime declines,Antanaclesis
By chance or nature's changing course untrimmed.
But thy eternal summer shall not fadeMetaphor
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall Death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,Personification
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.Anaphora and Anadiplosis

That time of year thou mayst in me behold

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That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.Metaphor

In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.Metaphor

In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by.Metaphor

This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

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Plagiarizing Himself

O, for a muse of fire

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O, for a muse of fire that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention!Metaphor

A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!Anapodoton

Can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
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Act 1
Scene Prologue
Line 1

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In sooth I know not why I am so sad

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Antonio
In sooth I know not why I am so sad.
It wearies me, you say it wearies you.
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,Epistrophe
What stuff ’tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn.
And such a want-wit sadness makes of meHyperbaton
That I have much ado to know myself.
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Act 1
Scene 1
Line 1

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The Sadness of the Merchant

Now is the winter of our discontent

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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.
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An untimely ague Stayed me a prisoner in my chamber

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Buckingham
An untimely ague
Stayed me a prisoner in my chamber when
Those suns of glory, those two lights of men,Anaphora, Pun & Metaphor
Met in the vale of Andren.
Norfolk
’Twixt Guynes and Arde.
I was then present, saw them salute on horseback,
Beheld them when they lighted,
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Act 1
Scene 1
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Fire and Gold

I find here that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honor

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Leonato
I find here that Don
Pedro hath bestowed much honor on a young
Florentine called Claudio.
Messenger
Much deserved on his part, and equally
remembered by Don Pedro.Anapodoton
He hath borne himself
beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure
of a lamb the feats of a lion.

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Was this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?

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Lafew
—Was this gentlewoman
the daughter of Gerard de Narbon?

Moderate lamentation is the right of the dead,
excessive grief the enemy to the living

Countess
His sole child, my lord, and bequeathed to
my overlooking.Ellipsis
I have those hopes of her good
that her education promises.
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