Comparison and Contrast: Metaphors and Similes

Published: 2019-06-05 23:23:31
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Metaphors and similes are terms that are slung around as if they have the same meaning. Although the two figures of speech have a common usage making comparison between words in a sentence to emphasize on them, they have numerous differences. Moreover, it is in the aura of linguistics and understanding of scholars that similes and metaphors are similar in terms of the renowned phrase that not all metaphors are similes but a simile is a metaphor. Whereas metaphors encompass the emission of like or as during comparison of two things, similes predominately, use the two subordinating conjunctions. This is the main argument that forms the belief that a simile is a metaphor, the only main difference being the employment of as or like. However, unlike in metaphors, similes directly make a comparison of two things that the author easily identifies with.

Concerning how metaphors and similes function, it is essential to point out that the two figures of speech are not only equivalent but also interchangeable. However, it is vital to note that metaphors, according to the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (1990), are verbal relations through which images and ideas are enhanced. Further, the encyclopedia emphasizes on the fact that a metaphor is implicit while a simile is explicit. Implicit meaning means that a metaphor assumes the image or character of something, thus an indirect and unobvious comparison. The explicit nature of a simile refers to the overt or obvious expressed meaning of a statement or a word. For example, My uncle is a bulldozer and my uncle is like a bulldozer show different comparisons of word. On one hand, the first sentence, which is a metaphoric one, indirectly implies that the writers uncle is actually a bulldozer. It also can be assumed that he works like a bulldozer but the meaning is not express thus left to the reader to imply it. on the other hand, the second sentence, a simile sentence, shows that the author of the sentence intentions were to expressly state that the uncle behavior or character compares to a bulldozer thus a direct meaning.

Poetry tends to manifest feelings or a certain agenda in few precise words making the constant use of similes and metaphors. The usage of similes and metaphors in a poem and the effects they cause in the sonnet sets out the backbone of similarities of the two figures of speech in relation. This is mainly because, in most poems, the poets use them interchangeably so that their meaning is intertwined creating an economy of expression. For instance, in Robert Burns poem A Red, Red Rose, instead of the poet using My love is fun, sweet and pretty, he says in the first paragraph O my Love is like the music/Thats sweetly played in tune. This line of the poem makes it impossible for the reader to explicitly distinguish the simile used as it is intertwined with a metaphor hence keeps the audience on toes in that it makes one critically think of what the author intended, or the speaker is trying to communicate.

Moreover, apart from adding flavor to a poem making it interesting to read, both metaphors and similes also give a humorous effect to a piece of writing or a poem. For instance, if a poet writes, He was as helpful as an unsharpened pencil/gait is the tortoise in slumber land implores that the person was not helpful at all and the fact that he was compared to walking like a tortoise in sleep makes it funny. This is because it is already known (or popularly perceived) that a tortoise is a slow walking animal thus imagining it walking in a sleep is quite humorous. In conclusion, despite the numerous differences, the use of both similes and metaphors is important to encourage reading especially in this digital word. The effects of these two figures of speech are amicably evident when used.

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