Metaphor analysis in Heartbreak House by Bernard Shaw

Different definitions and types of metaphor, stylistic use. Metaphor compared as metonymy. Stylistic use of metaphor in the play "Heartbreak House" by Bernard Shaw. The metaphor is one of the most used stylistic devices in literature and language.

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«Чувашский государственный университет имени И.Н. Ульянова»

Факультет иностранных языков

Кафедра романо-германских языков


по дисциплине: Основы теории первого иностранного языка

на тему: Metaphor analysis in "Heartbreak House" by Bernard Shaw


студентка группы 2А-11

Ретюнская Н. Е.

Научный руководитель:

к. ф. н. доцент

Абрамова А. Г.

г. Чебоксары - 2012 г




1.1 Different definitions and types of metaphor. Metaphor in Literature and Language

1.2 Metaphor compared as metonymy and simile





The metaphor is one of the most used stylistic devices in literature and language. During the day we can say any metaphorical statement and even don't notice it, because metaphor is an integral part of our speech long since.

The theme of our paper is hugely topical, because a great number of different books and articles were written concerning the phenomenon of metaphor but the interpretation of this term still is an open question.

The subject of our course work is metaphor.

And the object is different types of metaphors.

So, the aim of writing this course work is the entire investigation of metaphor essence, characteristics, theories, types and use. According to this aim the main task of this paper includes carrying out of metaphor analysis using the example of literary work of English author ("Heartbreak house" by Bernard Shaw).

In compliance with specific purpose and main task of the research the following theoretical and analytical tasks were set in this course work:

1. to examine existing definitions of metaphor and to choose the most appropriate one;

2. to consider the structure and types including categorization of metaphor, review several interesting and contradictory metaphor types;

3. to analyze the use of metaphors in the play "Heartbreak House" by Bernard Shaw.

The methodological and theoretical data base used for writing of this course work includes works of English, Russian and American linguists, scientists, writers.

The first (theoretical) chapter includes the research concerning metaphors theories, metaphor definitions, types and use in different scopes (literary, language) and also philosophical interpretation of metaphors. The second (analytic) chapter of this course work contains the investigation about metaphor analysis with the usage of examples from “Heartbreak house”.

Structurally the course work consists of the introduction, two chapters, conclusion and list of information sources.


1.1 Different definitions and types of metaphor. Metaphor in Literature and Language

Metaphor is a term that can mean a comparison of several objects, a rhetoric figure, a figure of speech, representation of one element using other one and all of this at the same time. There are different definitions of the term “metaphor”; one of them says that metaphor is a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance [10, p. 24]. Another definition of metaphor is a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity [5, p. 51]. According to Davidson, metaphor is the transference of the relation between one set of objects to another set for the purpose of brief explanation [7, p. 18].

An aggregate metaphor (from the Greek: мефбцпсЬ - metaphora, “a transfer”, in rhetoric “transference of a word to a new sense", from мефбцЭсщ - metaphero, "to carry over, to transfer”) is a language tool that directly compares seemingly unrelated subjects. In the simplest case, this takes the form: “The [first subject] is a [second subject].” More generally, a metaphor is a rhetorical trope that describes a first subject as being or equal to a second subject in some way. Thus, the first subject can be economically described because implicit and explicit attributes from the second subject are used to enhance the description of the first. This device is known for usage in literature, especially in poetry, where with few words, emotions and associations from one context are associated with objects and entities in a different context [4, p. 72].

Within the non rhetorical theory a metaphor is generally considered to be a concluded equation of terms that is more forceful and active than an analogy, although the two types of tropes are highly similar and often confused. One distinguishing characteristic is that the assertiveness of a metaphor calls into question the underlying category structure, whereas in a rhetorical analogy the comparative differences between the categories remain salient and acknowledged. Similarly, metaphors can be distinguished from other closely related rhetorical concepts such as metonymy, synecdoche, simile, allegory and parable.

The use of metaphor is a dynamic phenomenon which enables us to generate new meanings from old. This process can be illustrated with the phenomenon of metaphorical generalisation. The view that metaphor is a principal avenue by which language progresses is based on the perfectly reasonable assumptions that language has to start somehow, and its initial concerns would have been with items in a speaker's immediate vicinity. A plausible origin myth is that the most primitive linguistic resources provided rudimentary verbal representations for solid sensible objects and for animal and (especially) human activities [4, p.48]. Initially the resources of natural language would presumably have been fairly parsimonious. A problem consists in a question: how could the primitive linguistic resources, grounded in representations for sensible objects and expressions for basic activities, be extended to embrace the higher reaches of abstract thought that we now articulate through the rich resources of natural language. A fundamental mechanism for extending and refining language is metaphor.

We can consider the verb “run”. In its simplest and most basic sense it designates a human (and animal) activity. But through metaphorical extension it comes to be applied to objects which lie outside its basic reference class, such as rivers. The term began with a more limited scope or extension, and when talk first arose of rivers running it must have sounded bizarre. It might well have been objected, when the metaphor was green and fresh, that rivers cannot run: they have no legs. This is a banal example of so-called frozen (or dead) metaphor. Once metaphor freezes (or dies) it becomes an ordinary part of our literal vocabulary. So it comes about that rivers run, taps run and fences run, and they “run” in a way which has generalised the meaning of this expression.

When we speak of fences “running” around a boundary, for example, there is no suggestion of motion. The metaphor has generated a static sense of “running”. Running has acquired the sense of following a path. That has amplified one aspect of the original idea of running, and suppressed other elements. Running is a simple activity which involves putting one leg in front of the other in a certain systematic, sequential and rhythmic fashion. It is a basic activity, but one nevertheless with complicated aspects, and by abstracting certain elements of the activity we are able to produce a generalisation of the basic sense of the word.

Metaphorical extension in this way, starting from the modest beginnings of describing macroscopic objects and simple activities, forges and reshapes concepts and thereby modifies language so that it comes to embrace an ever wider and more complicated repertoire of referents and activities. This process or generalisation and abstraction is a plausible explanation of how it is that we are able to start off with a decidedly limited or restricted set of verbal resources and extend them further, and reshape and refine them, to cope with the ever more complicated world which these very resources help us to create.

Expressions surely must have a deep as well as a surface level. It is at the surface level that we recognize the falsehood of the metaphor, e.g. `Richard is a gorilla' [18, p. 139]. We apprehend immediately that this sentence is not literally true. Indeed if Kripke is right about the meaning of natural kind expressions, not only is Richard not a gorilla, he is necessarily not a gorilla. How can a necessarily false statement provide us with an interesting and possibly useful insight?

The answer presumably is that the words have complex structure, and this structure is revealed by the possibility of metaphorical use. Expressions may have a primary sense and a primary reference, but metaphorical use is able to activate secondary sense, and thereby generate a new extension for the expression. These subsidiary ideas and associations show that in addition to a primary sense and reference there is also a penumbra of additional associations or meanings. When the literal meaning is deactivated, because of the falsehood of the sentence, a switching happens and the secondary meanings latent in the penumbra are activated.

The penumbra of associated secondary meanings is extremely interesting. Suppose that Mabel is a gorilla in the local zoo. When we say that Mabel is a gorilla, the associated meanings do not intrude at all. But when we apply the description to the man Richard, something interesting happens. As soon as we apprehend that the description is literally false, which usually happens immediately and unconsciously, the expression becomes semantically charged with secondary meanings latent in the associated semantic penumbra. Metaphors work typically by activating these subsystems of associations described by Black, as a `system of associated commonplaces' [19, p. 153].

Another interesting fact is that the associated commonplaces are often not literally true of the objects from which they are derived. To describe someone as a gorilla might be to suggest that they are large, clumsy, hairy, and perhaps unpleasantly fierce or aggressive. That is one possible interpretation of this metaphorical description. But, thanks to ethnologists such as Dian Fossey, we know that gorillas in fact are quite gentle creatures, and by no means clumsy. What is important for the effectiveness of the metaphor is not what is true about gorillas, but rather the associated conceptions, or misconceptions, about gorillas.

These commonplaces or associations have a habit of hanging around, even after the literal meaning has changed. To be in a political wilderness is not to be in a pristine, unspoiled place of great natural beauty. Even a person who knows what gorillas are really like, may use and understand that word metaphorically in a way which respects not the actual characteristics of gorillas, but the common prejudices that are associated with them.

There are, in short, commonplaces or connotations associated with a large number of expressions, and this constellation of associated ideas provides the semantic charge which explodes when the expression is used metaphorically.

Types of metaphor

Metaphor can be classified in a range of different ways, based on various criteria. As for the types of metaphor scientist came to agreement to divide it into two groups: common and uncommon. Each group consists of subtypes.

Common Metaphors:

An extended metaphor is one that sets up a principal subject with several subsidiary subjects or comparisons [7, p. 77]. For example:

`Uncle Adrian lives too much with bones. The sight of red blood goes to his head.' [16, p. 111].

In this example, the phrase 'red blood' means the priest's young nephews, and they are opposed to well-behaved parishioners and other priests of the parish, who are implied by the bones.

A mixed metaphor is one that leaps, in the course of a figure, to a second identification inconsistent with the first one. Example:

`Clinton stepped up to the plate and grabbed the bull by the horn.' [20, p. 96]

Here, baseball and the activities of a cowboy are implied.

A dead metaphor is one in which the sense of a transferred image is not present. Example:

"to grasp a concept" or "to gather you've understood." [4, p. 88]

Both of these phrases use a physical action as a metaphor for understanding (itself a metaphor), but in none of these cases do most speakers of English actually visualize the physical action.

Dead metaphors, by definition, normally go unnoticed. Some people make a distinction between a "dead metaphor" whose origin most speakers are entirely unaware of (such as "to understand" meaning to get underneath a concept), and a dormant metaphor, whose metaphorical character people are aware of but rarely think about (such as "to break the ice"). Others, however, use dead metaphor for both of these concepts, and use it more generally as a way of describing metaphorical clichй.

An absolute metaphor or paralogical metaphor is one in which there is no ground. In other words, the vehicle and the tenor seem to have nothing in common. For example:

`The duck is an onion.' [5, p. 67]

If it is a metaphor, which is in doubt, it is a far out metaphor. The absolute metaphor is not making an obvious comparison. Indeed, there is no apparent connection between the things being compared. This is just another way of saying that there is no common ground between the vehicle and the tenor.

Without this common ground, it only makes sense to use an absolute metaphor in a poetic way. At best, an absolute metaphor that resonates with some readers may feel like a non-sequester, or just plain goofy, to other readers [10, p. 167].

Uncommon Metaphors:

An active metaphor is one that is not commonly used, and has therefore not become a clichй. An active metaphor is sometimes also called a live metaphor. A metaphor has become a clichй because it is apt, and useful; therefore, over time, much used. It's hard to avoid clichйs when creating metaphors. Sometimes it is even good to use a clichйd metaphor because your readers will know exactly what you mean. For instance:

“It's been a purple dinosaur of a day” [23].

A complex metaphor is one which mounts one identification on another. Example:

"That throws some light on the question."

Throwing light is a metaphor and there is no actual light.

A compound or loose metaphor is one that catches the mind with several points of similarity. Example:

"He has the wild stag's foot."

This phrase suggests grace and speed as well as daring [3, p. 105]

An implicit metaphor is one in which the tenor is not specified but implied. Example:

"Shut your trap!" [3, p. 105]

Here, the mouth of the listener is the unspecified tenor.

A simple or tight metaphor is one in which there is but one point of resemblance between the tenor and the vehicle. Example:

"Cool it". [3, p 107]

In this example, the vehicle, "cool", is a temperature and nothing else, so the tenor, "it", can only be grounded to the vehicle by one attribute.

A root metaphor is the underlying association that shapes an individual's understanding of a situation. The examples would be the understanding of life as a dangerous journey, seeing life as a hard test, or thinking of life as a good party. A root metaphor is different from the previous types of metaphor in that it is not necessarily an explicit device in language, but a fundamental, often unconscious, assumption. Religion is considered the most common source of root metaphors, since birth, marriage, death and other universal life experiences can convey a very different meaning to different people, based on their level or type of religious adherence. For example, some religions see life as a single arrow pointing toward a future endpoint. Others see it as part of an endlessly repeating cycle. An individual's political affiliations are another source of root metaphors. In the United States, both conservatives and liberals assume that the nation is a family. However, as George Lakoff has shown, in Moral Politics, they have very different ideas about what a family is and how it should function. Conservatives believe in a "strict father" type of family, and liberals see the family as a nurturing and educating social institution.

A dying metaphor is a derogatory term coined by George Orwell in his essay Politics and the English Language. Orwell defines a dying metaphor as a metaphor that isn't dead (dead metaphors are ok since they are treated like ordinary words), but has been worn out and are used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Example:

“Achilles' heel.” [22, p. 54]

A submerged metaphor is one in which the vehicle is implicit. The reader deduces the nature of the vehicle from some aspect of the description of the tenor. For example,

“My winged thought” [2, p. 207].

It is a submerged metaphor comparing my thought to a bird.

The category of metaphor can be further considered to contain the following specialized subsets:

1) Allegory: An extended metaphor in which a story is told to illustrate an important attribute of the subject

2) Catachresis: A mixed metaphor (sometimes used by design and sometimes a rhetorical fault)

3) Parable: An extended metaphor told as an anecdote to illustrate or teach a moral lesson

Regardless of the types of metaphors one prefers or likes the most, Aristotle's observation 2,500 years ago in Rhetoric should be kept in mind: 'Those words are most pleasant which give us new knowledge. Strange words have no meaning for us; common terms we know already. It is metaphor which gives us most of this pleasure.'

Metaphor is prevalent in all genres of speech, intended to influence the emotions and the imagination of the recipient. So from ancient times and oratory, journalism, and is widely used metaphor. Metaphor is characteristic of polemic, especially for political debate, in which it is based on analogies: the war and the struggle (to strike, to win the battle, the team president), game (make a move, win the game, to gamble, bluff, set apart trumps, play map), sports (to pull the rope, get knocked out, throw), hunting (herded into a trap, build up the wrong tree), the mechanism (levers of power), an organism (disease of growth, shoots of democracy), theater (play a major role to be a puppet, extras, prompter, reach the proscenium), etc [7, p. 194].

Thus, the metaphor is common in almost all spheres of human activity. Indeed, some say that the metaphor - is a powerful instrument of power through which you can reach the most remote corners of our consciousness. However, when talking about the wide use of this trail, you must take into account its dual nature, which manifests itself in the fact that interacts with two different classes of objects, comparing objects, a metaphor for their contrasts. In the semantic structure of the metaphor consists of two components: its value (the actual properties of the subject of metaphor) and the image of its subsidiary subject. Therefore, based metaphorization is vague concepts, and thus semantic equivocal metaphor does not meet the primary communicative. Key components suggestions (his subject and predicate), so there are still stylistic restrictions on the use of metaphors, in particular it is live. It is not used in the business and legal discourse, laws, regulations, orders, regulations, rules, circulars, the obligations and the like, involving the execution of regulations and control over them. This metaphor is not used in questions designed to obtain accurate and unambiguous information. On the other hand a metaphor encouraged to practice those forms of speech, in which there is an expressive and emotional and aesthetic aspect. It is held in phraseological catch phrase, aphorisms. For example: someone else's soul is darkness [7, p. 186].

Thus, the scope of the use of metaphor is due to its species, and, consequently, the functions of specific types of metaphors. Most often, this trope is found in a literary text, which is characterized by the use of speech or of the original metaphors.

The main functional difference between the uses of metaphors in a literary text from non-artistic speech is the nature of aesthetic information. Form of existence of the aesthetic sense is an artistic image, one of the characteristics of which - the semantic diversity of the coexistence of multiple layers of meaning in the text simultaneously. Metaphor that can be reduced with respect to the categorization of concepts that are semantically distant from each other is the main structural mechanism for the formation of artistic meaning.

In the same speech, non-fiction metaphor is used as a way to create a concept-image, and a clear, easily perceptible content. If the art of speech is inherent in the original metaphor, the language is replete with worn metaphors, which often carry nominative function. Such metaphors do not require decoding, since it is already established pattern, domain language, and they worn, faded, their figurative meaning is hardly noticeable in the speech (for example: storm of passion, a game of feelings, the sea of cases), but it still makes the language richer and saturated.

Thus, in a literary text metaphor is implementing two major semantic properties - fine and figuratively, but also serves a constructive function. In addition to the literary text, both in prose and in poetry, metaphor is a means of varying the signs to avoid repetition [11, p. 99].

However, it should be noted that creating a pictorial and emotional, while the metaphor may make it difficult and complicated. In this regard, the frequency of use of this trail in verse and prose is uneven. In prose, excessive colorful speech impediment stands in the assimilation of the content. Unsuccessful use of metaphor is observed when it conjures up images that do not match the general nature of the product or are spurious, causing vague subtle images. Poems also usually have a relatively small amount, assimilated during the second reading, or even learning by heart, not only permit but even require a new kind of expression of content. In this case, the metaphor of speech acts as one of the techniques and finds much wider application. We can say that metaphor is the foundation of poetry. In poetry, metaphor, based on partial similarity of two objects gives a full statement of their full identity, but that is what gives it a poetic force that is manifested in the partial convergence of distant objects classes. So, in artistic speech and language, a metaphor for various duties, which causes specific use of different types of metaphors.

The Greek plays of Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides, among others, were almost invariably allegorical, showing the tragedy of the protagonists, either to caution the audience metaphorically about temptation, or to lambast famous individuals of the day by inferring similarities with the caricatures in the play.

Even when they are not intentional, parallels can be drawn between most writing or language and other topics. In this way it can be seen that any theme in literature is a metaphor, using the story to convey information about human perception of the theme in question.

1.2 Metaphor and metonymy

language literature metaphor stylistic

Metaphor and metonymy are similar in various aspects but the major difference is that if a metaphor substitutes a concept with another, a metonymy selects a related term. So, if metaphor is for substitution, metonymy is for association. For example, the sentence `he is a tiger in class' is a metaphor. Here the word tiger is used in substitution for displaying an attribute of character of the person. The sentence `the tiger called his students to the meeting room' is a metonymy. Here there is no substitution; instead the person is associated with a tiger for his nature.

So metonymy is a figure of speech. It is used in rhetoric where a thing is not referred by its name but with the associated word. A metaphor is an expression. This expression shows the similarity between two things on some aspects. In metonymy, the association of the word is based on contiguity, while in a metaphor; the substitution is based on similarity. If metaphor can be used to define the transference of relation between set of things to another, metonymy is used to define a word. Metonymy uses a single characteristic for the identification of a complex entity.

Another difference between metaphor and metonymy is that a metaphor acts by suppressing an idea while metonymy acts by combining ideas. But both metaphor and metonymy are used to express ideas which are greatly different from the original meaning in the psychic realm. When a person uses a metonymy, the qualities are not transferred from the original word to the metonymy. But in metaphor, when there is a comparison, the comparison is based on the qualities and some qualities are transferred from the original to the metaphor, in the process.

Metaphor is an extension to a word's meaning on the account of similarity and metonymy is a way of extending the meaning of a word based on its association to another. For example:

“He is a pig” [4, p. 59]

It is a metaphor and it denotes that his behavior is similar to the behavior of pig.

“The pen is mightier than the sword” [27]

The "pen" stands in for "the written word". The "sword" stands in for "military aggression and force".

Metaphor can be used to refer to a word in an object category to make it in the abstract semantic category. Metonymy can be used in informal or insulting situations as well. For example, the association of brain to a person means he is intelligent, and asshole is a metonymy for an idiotic person in an insulting manner.

So we can say that if metaphor is used for substitution and condensation, a metonymy is used for combination and displacement [26].

Metaphors and similes both call attention to how two different things are similar, so people listening to you can apply the qualities of one thing to the other. The difference between metaphors and similes is that similes hit you over the head with the comparison by using explicit words such as “like” or “as,” - When Jon Bon Jovi sings “My heart is like an open highway,” that's a simile because he used the word “like” to directly make the comparison. Metaphors, on the other hand, don't use direct comparison words. When Tom Cochrane sings “Life is a Highway,” that's a metaphor because there's no word such as "like" or "as."

Metaphors are a bit more subtle. You can remember the difference between similes and metaphors by remembering that simile has the letter l in it, just like the word “like,” which you often use in a simile.

People use these figures of speech when speaking romantically. “Dearest, your eyes sparkle as starlight in the water of a deep, cool well.” The speaker is drawing a parallel between his beloved's eyes and starlight in a well. She doesn't actually have wells for eyes; if she did, she would slosh when she walked. But her eyes do sparkle, and that is the connection he's drawing.

You can also use metaphors and similes to help explain concepts that confuse your listener. First, identify the point you want to explain. Then find a topic your listener might know well where that point also comes up. Then use a comparison to link your point to the familiar topic to help your listener understand.

But the constant use of a metaphor gradually leads to the breaking up of the primary meaning. The metaphoric use of the word begins to affect the dictionary meaning, adding to it fresh connotations or shades of meaning. But this influence, however strong it may be, will never reach the degree where the dictionary meaning entirely disappears. If it did, we should have no stylistic device. It is a law of stylistics that in a stylistic device the stability of the dictionary meaning is always retained, no matter how great the influence of the contextual meaning may be. [25]


The title of the play "Heartbreak House" already contains the phrase with the metaphorical meaning - that is "heartbreak house". It is an example of simple metaphor. In our opinion, the word "heart" is the bearer of imagery, as it is not consumed in the direct literal sense, but in figurative, therefore, in the metaphorical sense. In general, the expressions of this type as "you broke my heart", "broken heart" are the closest option considered, and the phrase "heart cries," "heart moans" are often used both in prose and in poetry, but a half of the presented options can be found in the phrasebook. The image of a loving heart or a broken heart is often characterized by the images in the works of any writer, working on the "literary field". Consequently, we found that the presented above metaphor is not a case of the author's occasional usage, but quite the contrary, it is a striking example of poetic metaphor. In other words, the metaphor may be called the shaped common language metaphor, portable nature of which is clearly felt by the speaker.

The choice of such a bright imaginative metaphor, included in the title, is not random for the author. Shaw points out to this fact in the preface to the play, saying that in the drama, he shows two forces opposed to each other. Allegorically they can be called "Heartbreak House" and "Horseback Hall". The dwellers of "House" are intellectuals and the dwellers of "Hall" are rustlers. Social struggle is drawn by the playwright as a collision of these two forces.

It is clear that the metaphorical interpretation of the phrase "heartbreak" is different from the literal: the expression, which in its literal meaning is used to describe the physical characteristics, as in case with sick people, with imaginative reading highlights a class of non-living objects, however, having a hint of its semantic being, as a result that none of the items belonging to the class of the internal organs cannot be selected in the same way as the "heart", while expressing the same idea.

Correlating the analyzed language shaped component - the metaphor "heartbreak" to the theory of Black [15, p.112], we can distinguish the so-called "focus" of metaphor and its surroundings - the "frame." And then we will make an attempt to explain why the "frame" in conjunction with the "focus" gives metaphorical imagery.

So, focus metaphors (i.e. clearly metaphorical word inserted in the frame of direct meanings of words) is used to convey meaning, which in principle could be expressed literally. We can conclude that the focus of this metaphor is the word "heart". The author uses it instead of the other series of concepts (hopes, expectations and others), which are abstract in contrast to the quite materialized concept of "heart." "The word is the deputy (or means of transmission) not a separate experience got in the past, but the combination of the general characteristics" [6, p. 241]. This statement of Ivor Richards is the common formulation of creation of metaphor.

The second component of the structure of a simple metaphor - "break" is a frame. A new and different context of the word "heart," that is the focus of metaphor, expands the meaning of focus through the frame. The word, being focus of metaphors, has not changed its meaning in the "system common associations" [1, p. 63]; it only expanded its meaning.

To clarify the situation: the analogy comes on the mind of the reader immediately, but a closer examination of metaphor shows that one analogy is not enough: the change of value occurs through contextual conditionality in the broad sense of the word "context." It follows that when talking about the metaphorical phrase "heartbreak", we have to take into account the remain, i.e. "surrounding"; that is, full name of the play "Heartbreak House." The whole aesthetic manifesto of Bernard Shaw can be displayed in the following words: "The expression of statement - these are the alpha and omega of the style." The style for Shaw is primarily an idea which embraces life, restoring its realistic images that influence people's minds.

This transition to the problem of imagery and style in general is not casual in our work. The image is a source of the major semiotic concepts, the structure of which is created by the interaction of fundamentally different plans, the plane of expression and the plan of content. Metaphor is often defined through an appeal to the image created by the figurative meaning of language units. This image in the narrow sense is a composite moment under creating of an image of a literary character and sometimes an artistic symbol, as in our case. The image of the house, where hearts of young and more mature people break, was created by Shaw with the help of metaphorical transfer, which used as a "tool" of imagery and symbolism, along with other tropes.

Generalizing all the statements given above, we can draw the following picture: the expression "Heartbreak House" is metaphorically by virtue of figurative meaning of the word "heart", which used as a focal point and under a certain contextual extensions form a value, which, on the one hand, is due to the development of the play, the name of which is the considered metaphor; but on the other hand, this value reveals the figurative concept of "house", as the extended meaning.

Turning to the analysis of the text of the play, we should note that the author of the play gave the examples of nominative metaphor, describing the room of the boat-house. For instance:

"On the port side of the room, near the bookshelves, is a sofa with its back to the windows. It is a sturdy mahogany article, oddly upholstered in sailcloth, including the bolster, with a couple of blankets handing over the back."[13, p.38].

In given above sentences there is a bright example of the use of metaphor as a technical way of creating the names of objects. Here the word "back" comprises the nominative character, referring to any object (in our case referring to the sofa) as a designation of its main part.

Another example:

"Between the sofa and the drawing - table is a big wicker chair, with broad arms and a low sloping back…" [13, p.38]

The collocations "arms of a chair' and "low sloping back" are metaphors, performing the nominative function. However, not only the description of the furniture contains lexical metaphors, which have become a kind of everyday language. We will not dwell on them because of the fact that this type of metaphors is the norm in any language; they are, so-called, dead metaphors.

For further visual analysis of metaphors, we take the following example:

"…He resembled it. He had the same expression: wooden yet enterprising. She married him and will never set foot in this house again." [13, p.41]

Speaking these words, the old Shotover condemns the decision of his youngest daughter to marry a man, who seems, in his view, the wooden figure of a ship. In this case the word "wooden" implies an unfeeling, and even hard-hearted person. It is worth noting that the role of the word "expression" is very interesting. Here it is used with explicit transfer value of the body (face) on one side and the internal state (characteristic of the hero) on the other hand.

If we turn to the issue of the functioning of this metaphor, it is not so easy to determine the field to which it refers mostly: its nominative function is undeniable - it characterizes and classifies the object. Performing in a sentence as the characterizing function, the metaphor gets the indeterminate attributive value - from figurative to the value of the broad scope of compatibility. With that this metaphor refers to a particular object, and it claims it within the values, ??related to object's characteristics directly: "unfeeling" and "hard-hearted".

The next considered metaphor is brought in the broader context for its demonstrate in conjunction with the other stylistic device - with a simile - which in the aggregate give the figurative image; it's important for understanding of text of the play and it is, at the same time, the starting point for the further development of the plot. So, the example:

"You've made the acquaintance of Ellie, of course. She is going to marry a perfect hog of a millionaire for the sake of her father, who is as poor as a church mouse; and you must help me to stop her." [13, p. 46]

In this example "a perfect hog of a millionaire" is a metaphor, and "as poor as a church mouse" is a simile. The image of a man like a hog, is drawn by this metaphor, characterizes both the object and the character, who expresses this idea. The situation is such: Mrs. Hushabye, introducing the young Ellie to lady Utterword, tells about Ellie's intention to marry Boss Mangan and gives him this characteristic.

Talking about this metaphor considering the pragmatic aspects of language, we can say about the areas, which link given linguistic units with the context, first of all it is the sphere of speech acts. As for the context, Samuel R. Levin says: "It involves the speaker, the listener and the extralinguistic situation of communication." [2, p. 346]. We can say about the main idea, lying in the base of the speech act as about something that besides the expression the own meaning, it can make some actions: it can assert something, ask about something, order and others; all these actions are acts, which the speaker makes, saying one or another sentence.

In our case there is a demonstration as a certain action, which be made by the thought in parallel with its intended purpose. To support the image of given statement, Mrs. Hushabye gives a simile which, in fact, is the antonym of previous metaphor - a hog of a millionaire, Ellie's groom, is opposed her father, who is as poor as a church mouse. The simile includes the well-known idiom which contains the highest level of expressivity. This fact lets us say that given metaphor also carries an expressive function.

As we have already said, given metaphor is a starting point for the further development of the plot. But now we will speak a little bit of something else. So-called the subtext of this play, which is not expressed directly, but is only guessed, is a fine thread throughout the play: we're talking about the ideological expression of real class struggle, moral crisis and conflict in the play.

Shaw uses a lot of zoomorphic metaphors in this play. So, at the end of the 1st act captain Shotover asks Hector:

"What then is to be done? Are we to be kept forever in the mud by these hogs to whom the universe is nothing but a machine for greasing their bristles and filling their snouts?" [13, p.70]

In this example the word "hogs" means a very rich person who does not care about other people. This word can describe both men and women, that is, it is applicable to everyone. In case with the statement "the universe is nothing but a machine for greasing their bristles and filling their snouts", "greasing their bristles and filling their snouts" imply to live on other people's money.

Also we can find other zoomorphic metaphor with the word "dog". For instance:

"…but it's a dog's life; and I don't own anything." [13, p. 119]

"Think of this garden in which you are not a dog barking to keep the truth out!" [13, p. 122]

The dog long since is perceived as a symbol of the dedication, disinterested friendship and faithfulness. And in metaphorical meaning, the first example implies bad conditions of living; and the second means an evil, even cruel to some degree, person.

The next considered case of free collocation with the metaphorical meaning can be referred to metaphors containing zoomorphic features and at the same time, to the author's individual stylistic metaphors:

"I tell you I have often thought of this killing of human vermin."[13, p. 71]

The collocation "human vermin" is not traditional for any language. Using the word "human" in the literal meaning in this example, Shaw brings a person closer to the animals. So, the given metaphor characterizes the person as a carrier of qualities, which are inherent to the snakes.

Another example:

"What a brute I was to quarrel with you…" [13, p. 87]

The word "brute" has a lot of meanings: a beast or a pet, usually cattle. But also it has figurative meaning: rude, even with animal instincts, person. Thus, the statement "what a brute I was" has brightly expressed metaphorical character, which is realized through the figurative meaning of the word "brute".

In the example:

"Ellie, you are a wicked, sordid little beast." [13, p. 89]

The word "beast' is used in the rude meaning of the word "dork". The present zoomorphic metaphor, reflecting its value in the human qualities, gives animal features to the person and considers it as a certain class, having the common features: stupid and unfeeling.

Taking into account the contextual extension of this word with the metaphorical value, we can watch the extended use of adjectives describing a young girl. Mrs. Hushabye calls Ellie in such way, when she tries to dissuade the young girl from the intention to marry the Boss Mangan. In Mrs. Hushabye's opinion, it is the moral meanness and the betrayal of the best human qualities. The introduction of a number of adjectives can enhance the expressiveness of metaphor in general and underline its emotional function.

The following metaphors have nothing to do with zoomorphic metaphors. For instance:

"I must believe that my spark, small as it is, is divine, and that the red light over their door is hell fire. I should spare them in simple magnanimous pity." [13, p. 71]

These lines were pronounced by Hector in the conversation with captain Shotover. Now then, in literal meaning of the word "spark" we can submit how the small white drops fly out from somewhere and then go out, or little red points, flaming brightly, fall down on the ground and attenuate. But in this case the word "spark" means something that encourages action, something that inspires.

Further Shaw uses the following metaphor:

"…the red light over their door is hell fire" [13, p. 71]

This metaphor performs the aesthetic function. Shaw creates the negative image of the rustlers. Imaging the subtext of the play in this way, the author entices readers to the part, to which he sympathizes much more.

The plot outline of the play lies in the story about the failed marriage between Mangan and young Ellie. Ellie and Mangan's dialogue is one of the key moments in this play.

"The main thing is a dialogue, in which the intellectuals are debunked, the dealers are exposed and the picture of profound ideological and moral crisis is formed" [6, p. 125]. The clash of people of different mental frame of mind is just a substitution of the real class struggle, for the developing of which Shaw uses this technique. So, in the example:

"The air may suit us; but the question is, should we suit one another? Have you thought about that?" [13, p. 76]

It is an example of the deployed metaphor, but at the same time it is dead metaphor. We are interested in the word "suit". In this case under this word Boss Mangan hints that he and Ellie have absolutely different characters and he isn't sure that they can live together.

Ellie's answer on Mangan's lines is more expressive:

"But we can get on very well together if we choose to make the best of it. Your kindness of heart will make it easy to me. " [13, p. 76]

In this example Shaw uses the abstract notions. We can see the theme of heart, the notion which we have already discussed above.

Later in the play Shaw often uses metaphors, which are supported by the similes or identities. This technique is called "catch". It is used to the readers focused their attention on the words, not just running through the lines, but consciously creating a certain image. It partially consists of personal experience of the reader and partially of the images, which are created by the read text which helps us to create a picture:

"I took your father's measure. I saw that he had a sound idea, and that he would work himself silly for it if he got the chance. I saw that he was a child in business, and was dead certain to outrun his expenses and be in too great hurry to wait for his market." [13, p. 77]

We should consider this example in detail. We can distinguish two lexical metaphors in this extract and they are "a sound idea" and "a child in business". These metaphors are in general use. Taken out of the context, they are used to nominative targets, not expressing any expressive characteristics. However, becoming a contextual extension of any deployed metaphor, such the linguistic units serve as "catch", that allows deployed metaphor to have the large figurative potential.

The author uses the metaphor "a child in business" to reduce Mazzini's professional qualities and to show his naivety, which has been used by Boss on the one hand; on the other hand, the author shows such Mangan's qualities as narcissism and self-confidence, brightly characterizing him as a skillful dealer.

In continuation of our work we want to point out several types of metaphors, specific to the use in the play. First of all, these are metaphors, referring to the semantic scope, named "psychological world of a person". This scope attracts the metaphors from the world of objects, demonstrating the need for spiritual attitude of a person to be realized in the certain objective meanings. The objective meaning, the most frequently used by Bernard Shaw in the play, are "heart" and "soul". The author shows the senses of his characters, attributing the "soul" to the category of real objects:

" … I have knocked over all the chairs in a room without a soul paying any attention to me …" [13, p. 99]

The word "soul" is lexical dead metaphor. And in this context it means no one.

Another example:

"They know it and act on it strangling our souls. They believe in themselves. When we believe in ourselves, we shall kill them". [13, p. 70]

In this example the word "soul" is a receptacle of all psychological features of a person.

We can find a lot of cases of use of the word "soul" in metaphorical meaning, but we should consider another object of the real world, on which the author takes the abstract concepts of the scope of psychological perception of the world by man. This word is "heart". It is a peculiar keyword to the ideological content of the play. Each of the characters in course pronounces the main metaphor of the play in one or another context, speaking about the unfulfilled dream or frustration - this metaphor is "broken heart".

But there are many other metaphors with the word "heart" in this play. So, Mrs. Hushabye says about Mangan:

"And you have a heart, Alfy, a whimpering little heart, but a real one" [13, p. 92]

In this case under the word "heart" we can understand human feelings such as love, dedication, duty and honor. Mangan has so little expression of feelings that they can fit into "a whimpering little heart".

One more example:

"Yet she breaks hearts, easy as her house is. That poop devil upstairs with his flute howls when she twists his heart…". [13, p. 127]

We are interested in the phrase "she twists his heart". The word "twist" means "to interweave" in literal value. In our case Hesione morally torments a young man, which is enamored by her.

The given above examples demonstrate the use of the words "heart" and "soul" as certain material substances, containing the abstract notions of psychological features of a person by means of metaphorical transfer.

The peculiarity of style of Shaw's language is the use of different word of vocabulary as a base of metaphorization: specific, abstract, poetic words and terms.

The most numerous metaphors in the text of the play are the lexical or linguistic metaphors, performing mainly nominative function. Also, the author is characterized by the use of zoomorphic metaphors, which are often identified with images of animals, the semantic value of which causes negative associations: a snake, a dog, a pig.

The metaphorical transfers are scant, based on the simile with plants, flower and insects; also there are a few cases of use those metaphors, in which the objective similarity between things consists in following features: color, form and size.


Metaphor is very common in English and other languages. People often think of it as being a typical feature of poetry and literature. But, in fact, many familiar words and phrases have metaphorical meanings, although we do not usually realize this when we use them.

The only one definition of metaphor cannot be presented, as a great number of scientist study this phenomenon and each of them sees it from his personal angle of vision. In this course paper the frequently used and well-known definitions are presented.

Every metaphorical word or phrase contains a `key idea'. This is the connection or similarity between the literal meaning and the metaphorical meaning. Sometimes the same key idea is expressed in several different words and phrases. Metaphor is so common that it is sometimes almost impossible to talk about particular topics in English without using words that are metaphorical. Some basic metaphorical ideas are shared by many metaphors. The most important of these is the very general idea that abstract things are described as if they are concrete, or have a physical existence.

Also we consider different types of metaphor and its use in literature and language. And on base of studied information we have analyzed the play "Heartbreak House" by Bernard Shaw.

We can understand that Shaw is characterized by the detailed treatment of stylistic devices, which help readers to submit the imaginative perception not only stylistic, but also lexical metaphors. The presentation of abstract concepts through metaphors, based on the specific vocabulary, makes the play more palpable, tangible and visible.

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