Extended Metaphor Examples

Extended Metaphor

A metaphor is a comparison between two dissimilar things that says that one thing is the other. Unlike a simile, a metaphor does not use "like" or "as" to compare the things. It simply says that one thing is the other.

An extended metaphor is a metaphor that is developed over several lines of text, over an entire poem, or throughout an entire text. Sometimes in an extended metaphor, the writer comes out and says that one thing is the other, and then develops the metaphor further by comparing characteristics of the two things. On the other hand, some extended metaphors are implied metaphors-meaning that the writer does not come right out and directly compare the two things; rather, the comparison is developed over several lines by comparing characteristics of two things until the reader begins to understand the comparison.

Examples of Extended Metaphor:

Examples of Extended Metaphors in Literature

1. In As You Like It, Shakespeare develops an extended metaphor comparing life to a drama performed on stage: "All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players. One man in his time plays may parts."

2. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare develops an extended metaphor comparing Juliet to the sun: "But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun! Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief."

3. In "The Road Not Taken," Robert Frost develops an extended metaphor of traveling down a road as a journey taken in life: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood / and sorry I could not travel both. / And be one traveler, long I stood / And looked down one as far as I could / to where it bent in the undergrowth."

4. In "Mother to Son," Langston Hughes compares life to a walk up a staircase: "Well, Son, I tell you / life for me ain't been no crystal stair. / It's had tacks in it, / and splinters, / And boards torn up, and places with no carpet on the floor-- / bare.

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