A metaphor is a figure of speech used to compare an object, an idea, a feeling or an action with another contrasting objects, animals or persons. Metaphors are helpful in enhancing the text, both prose, and poetry, to give more clarity and description.
Disney has produced many timeless songs overs years and many of which are famous even now. Songs with metaphors and various literary devices create a substantial emotional impact on the listeners. Here are a few examples of metaphors in songs from the Disney films.
Friend Like Me – Aladdin
Life is your restaurant
And I’m your maitre d’
C’mon whisper what it is you want
You ain’t never had a friend like me
In the above lines, the genie compares human life with a restaurant and himself with maitre d’ means the head or the manager of the restaurant. It also means that the genie is telling Aladdin that he will offer him amazing things or service and also be his friend.
I’m just a little black rain cloud
Hovering under the honey tree
I’m only a little black rain cloud
Pay no attention to little me
Pooh, one of the favorite characters from the Disney world sings this song while trying to get some honey from the honeycomb. The little black rain cloud is compared to sadness or Pooh trying to ruin someone’s happiness as he did by stealing honey from the bees; and feels lonely, despite having a friend, Christopher Robin.
Cruella De Vil – 101 Dalmations
This vampire bat
This inhuman beast
She ought to be locked up
And never released
The world was such
A wholesome place until
Cruella, Cruella De Vil
Cruella De Vil
In the above lyrics, Roger expresses his feelings after meeting Cruella De Vil to his wife, Anita. He compares her with a wild beast or an animal who doesn’t have feelings and also describes her cruel intentions by comparing her to a vampire bat.
You Can Fly – Peter Pan
Now, think of the happiest things.
It’s the same as having wings
Let’s all try it, just once more
Look! We’re rising off the floor
This classic song is sung by Peter Pan as he encourages Wendy and her brothers to fly. He wants to take them to the Neverland, and since they don’t have magic, they are unable to fly. Peter Pan compares the ‘happiest things’ with good memories and wings. Here wings also mean letting go of any sad feelings.
I’ll Make a Man Out of You – Mulan
Be a man
We must be swift as a coursing river
Be a man
With all the force of a great typhoon
Be a man
With all the strength of a raging fire
Mysterious as the dark side of the moon
The above lyrics displays Captain Li Shang’s efforts while training the group of misfits to fight the Huns. Here he compares the strength of a soldier with the flowing river, typhoon (storm), fire and the unexplored side of the moon. That means a soldier must be quick, harsh, passionate and good at hiding emotions.
A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes – Cinderella 1949
A Dream is a wish your heart makes
When you’re fast asleep
In dreams you will lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep
In ‘A dream is a wish your heart makes’ Cinderella compares dream with a strong desire. The extended metaphor of the entire song means that when a person has a dream which turns into desire, you must never give up. The song also expresses that all the disappointments are lost in the dreams, hence at times, dreams are better than realities.
It’s a small world – Disney Chorus
It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears
It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears
There’s so much that we share that its time we’re aware
It’s a small world after all
This famous Disney song is played during a water-based dark ride ‘It’s a small world’ in the theme park since 1966. Here the ride is compared to the various emotions children experience. The Disney theme park is also compared to ‘small world’ means that even the strangers can meet unexpectedly and have chances of becoming friends during their ride or time at the park.
A Whole New World – Aladdin 1992
Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling
Through an endless diamond sky
One of the best Disney films with plenty of eternal songs, A whole new world has many metaphors that describe the major landmarks, the seven wonders of the world. The stars are also compared to the diamonds as they shine through the night.
Le Festin – Ratatouille
My hope is a banquet impatiently downed
Impossibly full, now I’ll probably drown
Many thieves’ lives are lonely with one mouth to feed
If giving means taking, I’ll never succeed
For nothing worth stealing is…
Here the Remy the rat sings this beautiful song as he feels the strong desire to become a chef. Originally sung in French, Le Festin, expresses Remy the rat’s fear in the human world. Here he compares his hope with a banquet or a party that he wants to attend. In the next lines, he agrees that people are thieves and success is hard to achieve.
Love Is An Open Door – Frozen
All my life has been a series of doors in my face
And then suddenly I bump into you
I was thinking the same thing!
Cause, like, I’ve been searching my whole life to find my own place
And maybe it’s the party talking, or the chocolate fondue…
Apart from the famous ‘Let it go’ song, Love is an open door from Frozen is one of the meaningful songs filled with figurative language, especially metaphor. Here Princess Anna compares her life with doors. Here ‘door’ means life’s path or journey where we meet different people. Here Prince Hans also compares his life with the party crowd and chocolate fondue, which perhaps means that he is enjoying the moment after meeting Anna.