1. What is it?

A metaphor uses the ideas and characteristics of one object or situation to describe another object or situation.

An extended metaphor – one that carries on the metaphor across several ideas, or goes into great depth – is called conceit.

Metaphors are commonly found in poetry, prose, advertising.

2. Why use it?

Clarify an idea by linking it to another idea that the reader already understands.Describe something in an unusual manner.
Add a philosophical tone to a description.

3. Examples

When she heard he was single, she pounced on him, trapping him under her paws, refusing to let him go.

Computers are quicksand from which it is impossible to escape, and the more you struggle to break free, the more stuck you become.

Truth is a hurricane, and no matter how strong we build our shelters it shall always break them down and leave us exposed.

4. Examples in literature

As You Like It
by William Shakespeare

Know Your Book

Title: As You Like It
Author: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Published: c. 1599
Language: English
Genre: Play; comedy; pastoral comedy
Plot: Rosalind is banished from court by Frederick and, disguised as a man, lives in the forest with her friend Celia. Also in the forest are the exiled Duke and Orlando, a young man in love with Rosalind. A complicated romantic farce ensues as Orlando does not recognise his love, and a woman falls in love with Rosalind’s male alter ego. Eventually the romantic knots are untangled while Frederick repents for stealing the kingdom from the Duke.
Setting: Forest of Arden, France
Characters: Rosalind; Celia; Orlando; Jaques; Duke; Touchstone; Frederick

Excerpt from Act II, Scene VII (adapted from Elizabethan English):

Duke Senior: Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy:
This wide and universal theatre
Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
Wherein we play in
Jaques: All the world’s a stage
And men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwilling to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on his nose and puch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Skimming, Scanning and Basic Comprehension

1. Briefly, what is the passage discussing?
2. What are men and women ‘merely’?
3. In what way is Jaques’s speech divided into two separate parts? 
Identifying Techniques

4. What alliteration is used in the passage? Highlight it.
5. Consonance is a common feature within this passage. Underline it.
6. What is the metaphor used in this passage? Is it effective?
7. What literary technique is used in the final line of this passage?  
Text Analysis

8. In what way does Duke Senior show positivity?
9. What does Shakespeare mean when he says ‘they have their exits and entrances’?
10. What phrases suggest ‘the justice’ represents a more mature individual than any seen before?
11. What tone is used in the final two lines of the passage? 
Provoking Opinion

12. What do you think are the ‘seven ages’ of life? Is seven the right number?
13. If life is ‘a stage’, what type of play or story (e.g. comedy, action, romance) would you like your life to be?
14. What other possible metaphors would you give for life?

The Gospel According to John
From The Bible

Know Your Book

Title: Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Ἰωάννην (*trans: The Gospel According to John)
Author: Unknown
Published: c. 70
Language: Koine Greek
Genre: Religious text
Synopsis: The Gospel According to John is primarily made up of the Book of Signs, describing Jesus’s seven miracles. These miracles include feeding the 5000, healing the sick, walking on water, and turning water into wine. The book also includes the story of Jesus setting up his ministry in which he travels and preaches; his seven ‘I am’ declarations; and Jesus’s final night, crucifixion, and assent to Heaven.

Excerpt from John 6:

So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

1. Within the passage, bread is used metaphorically to describe

a) love
b) righteousness
c) the Holy Spirit
d) Christianity
e) eternity

2. ‘Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’ This line suggests that belief in Jesus will

a) wash away sin
b) provide a path to Heaven
c) answer one’s prayers
d) justify one’s life
e) feed the soul

3. Whose ‘will’ does Jesus say he is fulfilling within this passage?

a) God’s
b) John’s
c) Jesus’s
d) The common man’s
e) Moses’s

4. What does the final line promise to believers?

a) Fortunes within life
b) Eternal life in Heaven
c) Living on through their children
d) A legacy on Earth
e) Recovery from illness

5. What subject is spoken of in directly contrasting ways within the passages from As You Like It and The Gospel According to John?

a) The existence of God
b) The importance of faith
c) The beauty of art
d) The purpose of life
e) The finality of death


5. Tasks

Task 1: Create an example of both a simple metaphor and an extended metaphor.
Task 2: Write a short poem or paragraph that uses conceit.