Metaphor| 9 examples in literature| Simile v. Metaphor

A literary figure of speech which is used to compare two unlike things and that describes one as if it was like the other.


It originated from the French word ‘metaphore’ which means carrying over. It was first known used in later 15th century. Here the readers will find 10 examples of metaphor and also the difference between simile and metaphor.


A literary figure of speech which is used to compare two unlike things and that describes one as if it was like the other. It is also called an implied simile. In Metaphor, words, like, alike, such as, and ‘as’ are not used. Mostly, it is difficult to find out metaphor in a sentence by the readers. It is sometime called a sharp wit.
In ‘Metaphor’ the meaning is suggested by an image. It suggests the comparison of two things not usually thought as similar. Writers use metaphor when they have to show resemblance between two subjects or about performing some function, one is, for the time being, actually identified with the other.

Types of Metaphor

There are two types of metaphor.
i) Extended
ii) Mixed

Extended :

Use of metaphors in extended form in writing is called extended metaphor. Sometimes writers use metaphor over an entire poem or any other piece of writing.


The combination of two metaphors which do not normally implied together.

Examples of Metaphor:

  1. My father is an iron man.
  2. Camel is the ship of desert.
  3. John is the star of his family.
  4. Maria has a heart of kindness.
  5. Life is a bed of thrones.
  6. My son is a moon.
  7. She is a Peacock.
  8. The thunder was a mighty lion.
  9. His voice created a bad affect upon the listeners.
  10. Lion is the King of forest.

Examples in Literature:

Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare

The barge she sat in,
like a burnish’d throne Burn’d on the water

Here in the above lines, the use of a metaphor as ‘the barge burn’d on the water’ has been made.

Fog by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes in little cat feet
It sits looking,
over harbor and city,
on silent haunches,
and then moves on”

Here in the above line, ‘Sandburg’ is feeling the fog and is comparing it with the little cat feet as when cat comes, the sound is very little. Similarly, the fog has come like a little cat feet.

Daffodils by Wordsworth

When all at once I saw a crowd”

Here the ‘Wordsworth” compares the daffodils with the crowd of people without using the connecting words like or as.

“As you like it” by (William Shakespeare)

“All the worlds a stage”

Here the ‘Shakespeare’ while comparing the world with a stage consider the human being as the stage actors. Here the metaphor in shape of comparing the world with a stage without using the connecting words has been used.

Sonnet 116 by Shakespeare

Love is the star to every wandering bark,
he wants to associate with love:
Its constancy and secure fixedness in a world of change and danger.”

The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy

And Winters dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day”

Here the writer clearly means us to understand that (the weakening eye of day) i.e. sun has made monotonous by the dull winter light and the cold weather.

Mutability by P.B. Shelly

“The flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow dies.
All that we wish to stay,
Tempt’s and then flies.
What is this world’s delight?
Lightning that mock’s the night
brief even as bright.

‘Shelly’ in the beginning line of poem makes us understand that he compares the present with future. All the living things in this world are for a short span of time and will come to their end and that is the main theme of this poem.

Solitary Reaper by Wordsworth

The vale profound is overflowing with the sound.

Here the depth of the song of woman that has turned into liquid and has overfilled the whole valley with her enchanting voice has been categorized.

Hamlet by Shakespeare

No, let the candied tongue’ lick absurd pomp,
And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee
Where thrift may follow fawning”

Here ‘Shakespeare’ has used the mixed metaphor by considering ‘hinges’ of the knee as ‘pregnant’ because flattery has successfully gained advancement.

Literary Works

Metaphor is a common figure of speech that one scarcely realize when using it. Words that we use have both literal and a metaphorical meaning. Writers of different genres have used them in their writings so as to create a profound impact. The literature is massive on this work. T. Hawkes, Metaphor oriented towards literary approaches, is a useful starting point. Alongside Paul Ricoeur ‘The Rule of Metaphor’: The Creation of Meaning in Language, the books by Richards and by Black cited above are classics, which have each generated a large secondary literature. The articles in Ortony which has a large bibliography are views from Anglo-American linguistics, philosophy and psychology included are the papers by Black and by Searle cited above. Similarly, A Grammar of Metaphor is a useful work on the syntax of metaphorical expressions in literature. A helpful primer is Zoltan Kovecses, Metaphor: A Practical Introduction.

Difference between Metaphor & Simile

The two literary terms are closely associated with each other but have different functions. Both the literary terms are used for comparison. Here the examples will show the difference between these two terms.

‘Similie’ is used to make comparison between two things indirectly by using the words ‘like’ and ‘as’. It is used to show quality of something by indirectly comparing one thing to other.

‘Metaphor’ is a literary device which is used for direct comparison between the two things and connecting words are not used in it. For example, ‘He is a night owl’ and “She is a shining Star’.

Further Reading

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