A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object. Metaphor is a type of analogy and is closely related to other rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance including allegory, hyperbole, and simile. In simpler terms, a metaphor compares two objects or things without using the words "like" or "as". One of the most prominent examples of a metaphor in English literature is the All the world's a stage monologue from As You Like It: All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances; — William Shakespeare, As You Like It,
Other writers employ the general terms ground and figure to denote tenor and the vehicle. In cognitive linguistics, the terms target and source are used respectively.
The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1936) by I. A. Richards describes a metaphor as having two parts: the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. The vehicle is the object whose attributes are borrowed. In the previous example, "the world" is compared to a stage, describing it with the attributes of “the stage”; "the world" is the tenor, and "a stage" is the vehicle; "men and women" is a secondary tenor, "players" is the secondary vehicle. Common types
A dead metaphor is one in which the sense of a transferred image is absent. Examples: "to grasp a concept" and "to gather what you've understood" use physical action as a metaphor for understanding. Most people do not visualize the action — dead metaphors normally go unnoticed. Some people distinguish between a dead metaphor and a cliché. Others use "dead metaphor" to denote both. A mixed metaphor is one that leaps from one identification to a second identification inconsistent with the first. "I smell a rat [...] but I'll nip him in the bud" — Irish politician Boyle Roche. This form is often used as a parody of metaphor itself: "If we can hit that bull's-eye then the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards... Checkmate." — Futurama character Zapp Brannigan. In historical onomasiology or, more generally, in historical linguistics, metaphor is defined as semantic change based on similarity, i.e. a similarity in form or function between the original concept named by a word and the target concept named by this word. ex. mouse: small, gray rodent → small, gray, mouse-shaped computer device. Some recent linguistic theories view language as by its nature all metaphorical; or that language in essence is metaphorical Success is a sense of achievement, it is not an illegitimate child! - The saying is used to reinforce the age-old belief that everyone wants to take credit for something that became a success, either by fluke or by conscious effort. On the other hand, no matter how much effort or creativity may have gone into an enterprise, the moment it is considered a failure, no one wants to take responsibility for it, much like an abandoned infant. Broken heart - Your heart is not literally broken into pieces; you just feel hurt and sad. The light of my life - The person described by this metaphor isn't really providing physical light. He or she is just someone who brings happiness or joy. It's raining men - Men do not literally pour from the sky; there are simply an abundance of male suitors around at the time. Time is a thief - Time isn't really stealing anything, this metaphor just indicates that time passes quickly and our lives pass us by. He is the apple of my eye - There is, of course, no real apple in a person's eye. The "apple" is someone beloved and held dear. Bubbly personality - A bubbly personality doesn't mean a person is bubbling over with anything, just that the person is cheerful. Feel blue - No one actually ever feels like the color blue, although many people say they are "feeling blue" to mean they are feeling...
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