King Lear Metaphors

Have you ever been compared to anything? Most likely you have. We all have been. The most popular comparison that we all will identify with is to animals. They are most unlike us, but sometimes, the things we do, make us seem like one, though we do not turn into one. That is the most basic description of the word metaphor. Technically Metaphor’ is a figure of speech that draws a subtle comparison between unrelated things tied together by a common characteristic so far. Metaphors are widely used in poetic language and sometimes become a little difficult to understand. Poems and literature convey very complex feelings.

William Shakespeare’s famous King Lear’ is an example of literature where metaphors are widely used.We will take some examples from this famous piece of literature and call it King Lear’s metaphor Analysis’.

1. Act II – Scene IV

That Sir which serves and seeks for gain, and follows but for form, will pack when it begins to rain, and leave thee in the storm.

This is said as a warning to King Lear by Fool, that there are many who serve him for personal gain and will desert him when problems (storm) come.

2. Act II – Scene IV

Nature in you stands on the very verge of her confine

Nature left to itself is a brute, and Regan is trying to tell Lear in her response, that his if he does not keep himself emotionally stable and in control, that brute (nature) in him may just come out.

3. Act Iv – Scene I

I stumbled when I saw…..Might I but live to see thee in my touch, I’d say I had eyes again.

Gloucester has lost his eyes and now desires to see his beloved son Edgar. When he had eyes, he failed to see how Edmund was the one who betrayed him.

4. Act I – Scene I

See better Lear

Lear’s mistake of considering Cordelia as the wicked daughter, prompts Kent to tell the King to use his mind (see better) to analyze the situation.

5. Act II – Scene IV

O Regan, she hath tied sharp-toothed unkindness like a vulture here

Lear is telling Regan how his daughter has torn his heart with unkind words and deeds like a vulture would tear a piece of meat.

6. Act IV – Scene II

What have you two sisters done? You’re tigers, not daughters.

Albany accuses the daughters of behaving wickedly by attacking their aging father with disrespect and ingratitude, just like tigers would attack somebody without bothering who it is.

7. Act II – Scene IV

Thou art a boil, a plague-sore an embossed carbuncle, in my corrupted blood

King Lear likens the state of his kingdom to a plague ravaged country in the grip of an epidemic. The wicked deeds of Goneril and Regan have corrupted the kingdom like a plague.

8. Act I – Scene I

Come not between the dragon and his wrath

King Lear is an angry man who is unable to control his emotions, and it is warned here that no one should be caught with him when he is angry.

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