Implied Metaphor does not explicitly state the comparison but explains it in a complex way as compared to a direct metaphor. It hints to the reader to allude to the deeper layer of meaning. Some implied metaphors are open, and some take a bit of pause. The subject is missing in the implied metaphor so the comparison goes direct. Additionally, implied metaphor helps the writer to create clear imagery in his work. It provides the writer with a visual image that is stronger in meaning than words. It also opens the path of interpretation and allows the reader to make connections. Implied metaphor reduces the need for words or long descriptive paragraphs in literature. It’s a beautiful way to communicate instead of putting a long list of adjectives and verbs. It brings ideas that are not typically recognized and gives an insight to writing and thoughts. A few examples are given below.
Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange and unnatural.
Haste me to know’t, that I, with wings as swift
As meditation or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.
In this example, Hamlet is requesting the ghost here to recognize him so he can take revenge for his father’s murder. The words ‘wings as swift’ and ‘sweep to my revenge’ is an implied metaphor for an avenging angel.
Romeo and Juliet By William Shakespeare
Her vestal livery is but sick and green,
And none but fools do wear it. Cast it off!
The phrase ‘vestal livery’ is used as an implied metaphor for Juliet’s frock. He is telling her to let go of her virginity as she looks pale and green. In other words, Romeo uses an implied statement here, telling Juliet to shed off ‘vestal livery’.
But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun.
The lines from the famous balcony scene show an implied metaphor that Juliet is bright, glorious, and radiant to Romeo’s sight and compares her to a life-giving element as a sun to the universe.
She could feel him and almost see him bucking around the room in the upper air. After a long time of passive happiness, she got up and opened the window and let Tea Cake leap forth and mount to the sky on a wind.
These lines are taken from the literary panoply of human emotions. It talks about how Janie perceives or understands tea cake as an implied metaphor for her husband. She likes the free and vibrant personality of her husband. His active and cheerful personality means a lot to her.
Purple Hibiscus By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The tea was always too hot, always burned my tongue, and if lunch was something peppery, my raw tongue suffered. But it didn’t matter, because I knew that when the tea burned my tongue, it burned Papa’s love into me.
In this story, Kambili’s father is strict and abusive. However, the writer uses an implied metaphor of burn by hot tea as better than beatings by her father.
Speak By Laurie Anderson
Mr. Neck storms into class, a bull chasing thirty-three red flags.
In this example, Mr. Neck is not a bull, but the author has used an implied metaphor by showing him highly evocative with wild eyes and huffing. Also, going after the flags is also an implied metaphor for pursuing thirty-three students.
Coyote Wind By Imogene Bolls
Scratching at the window with claws of pine, the wind wants in
The stunning implied metaphor of wild cat is used here for the wind. The wind blows fast and makes wild sounds at the window. This is well compared to the wild cat that is scratching its claws to enter the house.
Some Everyday Examples of Implied Metaphors
- The boss barked a warning at his staff. (Boss is compared to a dog)
- Alison purred over her baby. (Alison is compared to a cat)
- Once Sherry saw her bad result, she left the class with her tail between her legs. (The girl is compared to a dog)
- John galloped to the medical store to get his mother’s medicine. (John is compared to a horse)
- The air hostess spent her whole journey buzzing from seat to seat. (Woman is compared to bee or fly)
- Nancy slithered over to Jane and hissed,” come! Let’s make noodles” (Girl is compared to snake)
- Little Andrew shed his clothes and jumped into the pool. (Boy is compared to snake)
- The lily danced in the wind. (Flower is compared to human)
- When the match ended, all the photographers orbited the player to get a clip. (Photographers are compared to the planet)
- He offered a glass of water to his angry wife until it erupted. (Wife’s anger is compared to the volcano)
- His soft words nourished his bruised respect. (Words are compared to food)
- Her hair was fluttering in the breeze. (Hair is compared to butterflies)
- His ego was slashed by her piercing remarks. (Remarks are compared to a sharp knife)
- The setting sun left the leafy yellow-orange shade in the sky. (Sun rays are compared to autumn leaves)
- Love is full of thorns. (Love is compared to a rose)
- The whole of the valley is swaddled by snow. (Snow is compared to a blanket)
- At his wife’s death, the river flowed down his cheeks. (Tears are compared to the river)