What is a Metaphor in Literature?

Updated: January 24, 2023
A metaphor is a figure of speech that uses one thing to refer to another thing. It is an imaginative way of describing a concept.
Detailed answer:

Metaphors are used to make complex ideas more understandable. They are comparisons between two things that are not alike. It is an implicit comparison, it is a figure of speech in which one thing is compared to another to suggest that they have similar properties or characteristics. Metaphors use words such as like, as, so and than.

They can be classified as similes (when the comparison is stated) and analogies (when it is implied). Metaphors are often used in poetry and literature, but also in non-fiction writing, where they may be considered clichéd or overused.

The term “metaphor” comes from the Greek words μεταφορά (“metapherin”) and φημί (“phainein”). The former means “to transfer” or “to carry over” while the latter means “to bring forward”. In other words, a metaphor transfers one idea or object into another by identifying one with another.

If you say that someone has the heart of a lion, you mean that they are brave and strong. If you say that someone has the eyes of an eagle, you mean that they see everything clearly and notice details others might miss. These statements would be considered metaphorical because they do not literally mean that these people possess the physical attributes of lions or eagles (although some people may actually believe this). Instead, these statements are meant to imply certain personality traits by comparing them with other objects or animals who possess similar traits.

What is a Metaphor in Literature?. (2023, Jan 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/qa/what-is-a-metaphor-in-literature/