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Metaphors in Poetry

by Saut Halomoan

Why use metaphors in poems?

Many people, students and readers find metaphors in English poetry difficult to understand because metaphors cannot be interpreted using ordinary or everyday English. Poets often use metaphors in poetry. We see that metaphor in poetry is considered as one of the most important devices that we should get the hang of. Without mastering it we cannot get clearer meaning in poetry. People define it as figure of speech in which something is referred to that it resembles. For example, when a person is in desperate love with someone, he is in blue and when a person is a fierce person, he can be referred to as a tiger, when a person who is not communicative as being as silent as stone and when a person is as cold as a cucumber, he calms down when facing a problem and never panics. The words "blue", "tiger" and "stone", cucumber" are used as images or imagery symbols to explain the characteristics of the persons. We see metaphors are used in poetry to describe and elucidate circumstances, emotions, feelings, mood or atmosphere and relationships with other elements that are not describable in everyday and ordinary language which is easy to understand. Metaphors are also used as a way of explaining or referring to something in a short but effective way.

How can we understand metaphor in an easy way? We can understand metaphors easily one way of many other ways by viewing it as a simile another poetic device with the words "like","unlike", "as if", and "just as". Poets use a simile to compare two things in a clear fashion. For example: "He is like a beast" an example of a simile which could mean that the man is compared to have the characteristics of a tiger. We could assume that the meaning becomes clearer and easier to understand the relationship without the interlinking word "like".

Metaphors are used in poetry by poets to express circumstances, emotions or atmospheres, feelings, or relationships with other elements that can not be described in everyday or ordinary language. They are used to emphasize the meaning of the poetry and readers can understand more clearly what is intended to convey by the poets although it is sometimes difficult for readers from different language backgrounds, but there is an easy way to comprehend of the poetry by using another poetic device" simile".

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