Thursday, February 22, 2024

What Is an Prolonged Metaphor? Definition and Examples

It’s possible you’ll perceive what metaphors (and similes) are, however what about prolonged metaphors? We hear and skim them on a regular basis, however might you establish one? Right here, we dive into the that means of prolonged metaphors, how they differ from common metaphors, and examples of this figurative language in literature.

What’s an prolonged metaphor?

A metaphor is a literary gadget that makes a press release about its topic by figuratively evaluating it to a different. An prolonged metaphor is a metaphor that spans a number of sentences or paragraphs.

Right here is an instance of a metaphor:

Grad faculty is a marathon.

This metaphor evokes pictures of pacing oneself whereas working an extended distance, probably dealing with inclines, declines, and obstacles alongside the way in which.

A second sentence that continues the metaphor makes it an prolonged metaphor:

Good associates are the water breaks.

This sentence extends the metaphor by including element to the unique comparability, making a secondary comparability that helps the primary. Identical to water breaks are essential to creating it via a marathon, good associates are key to creating it via grad faculty. A 3rd sentence additional extends the metaphor.

Your professors are your coaches and trainers.

Forms of prolonged metaphor

There are two forms of prolonged metaphor:


An allegory is a piece that thematically discusses summary concepts in a story. For instance, George Orwell’s Animal Farm is an allegory about energy and revolution. Often, an allegory doesn’t explicitly state its theme. Fairly, it tells a narrative that may be learn and understood actually. Identical to some other story, an allegory has characters, a setting, a plot, a battle, and a story.


A conceit is an intricate, typically multilayered, prolonged metaphor. With a conceit, the writer presents a singular perspective on their writing’s topic. Conceits are sometimes present in poetry, significantly Renaissance and metaphysical poetry. One well-known instance of a conceit is the poem The Love Music of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot:

“Allow us to go then, you and I,
When the night is unfold out towards the sky
Like a affected person etherized upon a desk.”

On this conceit, like others, the writer deliberately shocks the reader with a stark, disturbing, or surprising picture. Right here, Eliot does so by evaluating the evening sky with a affected person awaiting surgical procedure.

Construction of prolonged metaphors

Structurally, an prolonged metaphor is similar as a regular metaphor. Metaphors embrace the next two elements:

The tenor is the preliminary idea, and the automobile is the comparability that turns the assertion right into a metaphor. Check out the next examples. In every, the tenor is bolded and the automobile is italicized:

  • A e-book is a dialog with anyone you’ve seemingly by no means met, who probably lived lots of or 1000’s of years earlier than you.
  • Their household gatherings are rock concert events. Ours are symphonies.
  • My cat is a monster.

Prolonged metaphor examples

Prolonged metaphor is commonly utilized in poetry, songs, and even rhetoric due to its means to attach with readers and listeners. Listed here are a couple of excerpts from well-known prolonged metaphors:

However tender! What mild via yonder window breaks?
It’s the East, and Juliet is the solar!
Come up, truthful solar, and kill the envious moon,
Who’s already sick and pale with grief
That thou her maid artwork much more truthful than she.
Be not her maid, since she is envious.
Her vestal livery is however sick and inexperienced,
And none however fools do put on it.

—Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare


As a result of I couldn’t cease for Loss of life—
He kindly stopped for me—
The Carriage held however simply Ourselves—
And Immortality.

—“As a result of I May Not Cease for Loss of life” (479) by Emily Dickinson


In a way we’ve come to our nation’s capital to money a verify. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent phrases of the Structure and the Declaration of Independence, they have been signing a promissory observe to which each and every American was to fall inheritor. This observe was a promise that every one males, sure, black males in addition to white males, can be assured the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It’s apparent at present that America has defaulted on this promissory observe, insofar as her residents of coloration are involved.

—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech:

Prolonged metaphor FAQs

What’s an prolonged metaphor vs. a metaphor?

A metaphor is when a phrase or phrase is utilized to one thing to which it’s not clearly relevant; an prolonged metaphor is a metaphor that spans a number of sentences or paragraphs.

How does an prolonged metaphor work?

An prolonged metaphor works by establishing a metaphor after which constructing on it in subsequent sentences and paragraphs.

What are the totally different sorts of prolonged metaphors?

  • Allegory: An allegory is a narrative that serves as an prolonged metaphor. Not all prolonged metaphors are allegories, however allegories depend on prolonged metaphors.
  • Conceit: A conceit is an intricate prolonged metaphor that presents its topic in an surprising manner. The aim of a conceit is to problem the reader to view the topic via a brand new or distinctive lens.

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