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Examples of Metaphor

This page contains examples of Metaphor.

Definition of Metaphor: A figure of speech in which a comparison is made between two things which is not literally appliable but suggests a resemblance. Unlike a simile, this comparison does not use the words "like" or "as".

Metaphor Examples in Poetry

"To mine, it serves for the old June weather
Blue above lane and wall;
And that farthest bottle labelled “Ether”
Is the house o’ertopping all."
Robert Browning, Confessions

In this metaphor by Browning, a house is used as a metaphor for the bottle labelled "Ether".

"Where true Love burns Desire is Love's pure flame;
It is the reflex of our earthly frame,
That takes its meaning from the nobler part,
And but translates the language of the heart."
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Desire

Coleridge uses a flame as a metaphor for love to convey the burning desire and pain that love can bring.

"I’ve a kiss from a warmer lover
Than maiden earth can be:
She blew it up to the skies above her,
And now it has come to me;"
Barcroft Boake, A Song

In this poem by Boake, a maiden is used as a metaphor for Earth.

"Now, when storms of Fate o'ercast
Darkly my Present and my Past,
Let my Future radiant shine
With sweet hopes of thee and thine!"
Edgar Allen Poe, Hymn

Poe uses a storm as a metaphor for fate in Hymn.

"Stars and Stripes march to their grave,
A line of heroes with guns steady.
The mother holds up a picture,
'Who's this?'
Baby's first word is "Daddy."
John Anderson, Daddy

In this poem by John Anderson, Anderson uses the American Flag or 'Stars and Stripes' as a metaphor for the soldiers being buried.

Examples of Metaphor in Shakespeare

"A man may break a word with you, sir, and words are but wind."
William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors

Shakespeare compares words to wind in this excerpt from The Comedy of Errors.

"Look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder East:
Night's candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops."
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 3, Scene 5

In this excerpt from Romeo and Juliet, it is possible that Shakespeare could have been using candles as a metaphor for stars, although some scholars believe he actually meant real candles.

"Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of Hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor Heaven peep through the blanket of the dark,
To cry Hold, hold!"
William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 5

Shakespeare uses a blanket as a metaphor for the dark. This highlights the encompassing, impenetrable nature of the darkness.

"His two chamberlains
Will I with wine and wassail so convince,
That memory, the warder of the brain,
Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason
A limbeck only."
William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 7

In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses a fume as a metaphor for a blurred memory.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18

A popular metaphor, the eye of heaven represents the sun.