What is a metaphor?
It is known as a metaphor to a trope or poetic figure that consists in the displacement of meaning between two words or terms, to express a relationship that accentuates or attributes certain characteristics. In other words, it is about naming something with something else, to force an association or analogy between the two.
It is a procedure widely used both in literary language (especially in poetry ), and in everyday speech, since it serves to print what has been said to be a power much greater than direct speech.
A metaphor can embellish a description , be comical, ironic, offensive, take an unexpected turn or even be enigmatic, mysterious.
Commonly, metaphors are understood as rhetorical or ornate figures of language, and are composed of three elements:
- The object of what is really talked about (tenor).
- The object that is invoked or named (vehicle).
- The relationship between both terms (foundation).
Thus, it is possible to speak of two types of metaphor, mainly: the explicit one , when the two terms appear in the expression; and the implicit one , when the tenor does not appear but must be inferred or deduced from the expression.
Some simple examples of metaphor are the following:
- Its bear appearance and mouse character .
- I looked at the pearls in his mouth .
- The love is a battle of two.
- It was raining hellily .
- The sun lit a sad street .
- His on his head were tongues of fire tied in a pigtail.
- A fat toad like a truck .
- The earth was gray as regret
As we said, metaphors belong to the group of rhetorical figures . In addition to metaphors, in this group we find comparisons , paradoxes , rhetorical interrogations and hyperbole , among many others.
All rhetorical figures consist of uses of language in which words contextually acquire a different meaning to that which gives its definition in the dictionary, in particular, to give more emphasis to an idea or a feeling.
Metaphors are relevant in many disciplines, such as psychology and philosophy. But the area where this issue is most exploited is in poetry . In poetry , the metaphor adds an indisputable aesthetic and emotional component .
Some metaphors have almost stopped having this aesthetic aspiration, but they are so successful that the imaginary term almost takes the place of the real and we use them for its expressive force: to say that so-and-so ‘ is a light ‘ exalts the attribute of great intelligence and mental speed, just in two simple words.
What are metaphors really worth?
If we are attentive, we will surely see that on more than one occasion, we use some metaphors when expressing ourselves or to convey an idea. When we hear a friend say, “I will fly to the game,” what we really want to express is that we will quickly reach the game we are going to watch or play.
We hope that after this, it has become clear to you what a metaphor is, its types and the usefulness they have in a language with as many nuances as Spanish. Without a doubt, using metaphors greatly enriches the expression and is very useful, so we encourage you to use it, in moderation, yes.
Metaphor and simile
Metaphor and simile or comparison are rhetorical figures that share the characteristic of producing more or less subtle associations between two or more terms, concepts or ideas. However, the simile differs from the metaphor in that it uses relationship elements to link the two terms in question with expressions such as “like,” “which,” “what,” “resembles,” or “like,” between others. An example of a simile would be: “His laughter could be heard like a roar of crystals throughout the house.” In the metaphor this element is missing, therefore this association is suggested without it. Thus, to transform the previous simile into a metaphor, it would be enough to reformulate the phrase excluding it: “The sound of his laughter was a roar of crystals.”
A visual metaphor is the representation of one or several ideas through images. You can use different resources such as photography and graphic design. It is used in various fields to complete or replace information transmitted orally and in writing or independently. Visual metaphors help to capture an idea without the express need to use verbal language. They can have different degrees of abstraction, so they require some interpretation work by the receiver.
A pure metaphor is a rhetorical figure in which a real term is replaced by an unreal one. An example of a pure metaphor is: “Your parchment moon / precious playing comes” (“Preciosa y el Aire”, Federico García Lorca). The concept of ‘parchment moon’ is a pure metaphor, referring to a tambourine.
In the impure or simple metaphor, the real concept is identified with the imaginary concept, usually using the verb ser. For example: “My heart is a arrested geranium” (“Poem for a birthday”, Sylvia Plath). In this case, the term ‘heart’ is identified with a detained geranium.
An appositional metaphor is a type of metaphor in which the real and imaginary terms appear separated by a comma. The order in which they appear may vary. An example of an apositional metaphor would be: “Words, gray gloves” (“Beyond love”, Octavio Paz). In the example, ‘words’ is the real term and ‘gray gloves’ the imaginary term.
Prepositional complement metaphor
In this type of rhetorical figure, the terms real and unreal appear united by the preposition ‘of’. Both concepts can appear in different order. It is also known as the prepositional metaphor of the name. Some examples are: “Your mouth of fire.” In this case, the real concept of ‘mouth’ is identified with the unreal concept of ‘fire’.
A negative metaphor is a type of metaphor in which the real or imaginary term appears with a negation. For example: “It’s not your look, it’s the storm over me.” In this case, ‘the look’ is being identified with ‘a storm’.
Love is probably one of the themes that most metaphors raises in both common speech and literary language. A list of such metaphors would include:
- Love burns like fire.
- Love is wide as heaven.
- Love is a music
- Love is a trip as a couple.
- Love is a mandate of nature.
- Love becomes addictive like a drug.
- Love is beautiful as poetry or as art.
- Love is a secret.
- Love is a refuge.
- Love is a force.
- Love is radiant like the sun.
- Love explodes like fireworks.
- Love is shared madness.
- Love is a bet.
- Love hurts like a wound.
- Love overcomes all obstacles.
- Love is sweet.
- The love is deep.
- Love breaks into a thousand pieces.
- Love is reborn from the ashes.
- Love is like an open flower.
Metaphor and comparison
Usually , a distinction is made between metaphor and comparison (or simile), based on the way in which the relationship of analogy between the terms put in comparison is constructed. So that:
- If a real concept is associated with another imaginary one, based on its similarity, shape or some other comparable feature, so that both objects maintain their identity despite being compared, we will be faced with a simile or comparison. It is easy to identify them by the appearance of comparative links such as “as … as,” “same as,” “like,” “as,” etc.
- If instead two concepts are associated that are then intertwined, matched or one of which is implicit, we will be in the presence of a pure metaphor. In that case, no comparative links will appear, but the terms will be forced to operate together.