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«Uluslararası Sosyal Araştırmalar Dergisi The Journal of International Social Research Cilt: 7 Sayı: 32 Volume: 7 Issue: 32 ...»

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All metaphorized animals in these sentences are wild animals. The selection of these animals is not accidental. Each of them represents the attitude of Lear towards the person he talks. In the first example, he warns Kent not to mediate between him and her daughter Cordelia. He refers to himself as dragon to show his superiority and power over others. In this case, we have an instance of composite metaphor. The two conceptual metaphors which are

combined in this case are:



Lear not only refers to himself as dragon but also considers his wrath as an entity which is live and Kent should not place himself between Lear and his feeling of anger. Via this composite metaphor, Lear implicitly shows how irrational he can be when he is angry. Thus, this composite metaphor is at the service of the poet for showing the irrationality of Lear.

In examples (b) and (c), Lear uses the image of wild animals for referring to two persons. In the first case, he refers to Oswald, the servant of Goneril, as a mongrel and cur. By using this metaphor, Lear characterizes Oswald as a poor loyal servant. At the same time, he uses these two words which have sexual connotations as well. These words refer to certain type of dogs which are of mixed breed. Thus, a set of correspondences are established via these


1) Oswald as a poor loyal servant of Goneril (the loyalty of dogs)

2) Oswald as a person with unknown parents (mixed breed dogs)

- 125 In the third example, Lear uses the metaphor of a sea-monster for referring to his daughter Goneril. In this case, another version of “MAN IS ANIMAL” conceptual metaphor is used by Lear. Since he regards his daughter as a cruel person, he uses the image of a dangerous

animal or monster for depicting her. Hence, he specifies that conceptual metaphor as:


In another case, he uses the following sentence for referring to Goneril:

d) Lear: Detested kite, thou liest! (I.iv.270) Again, he uses the metaphor of a bird of prey for referring to his disloyal cruel daughter. It can be said that, in this case, he regards Goneril as a hawk in search of its prey. By using this metaphor, he foregrounds the opportunist nature of his daughter who grasps any opportunity for gaining power and money.

These are just a few examples of metaphorized animals in this tragedy. In general, it seems that different linguistic manifestations of animal metaphors in this play have a common goal which is showing and representing different characteristics of human being. In addition, these metaphors have a major role which is reinforcing the coherence of the play. It can be said that different animal metaphors contribute a lot to the coherence of this tragedy which is, in fact, a play about human being and its various characteristics. This matter is best represented by

the following part:

e) Edgar: A serving-man, proud in heart and mind;…. false of heart, light of ear, bloody of hand; hog in sloth, fox in stealth, wolf in greediness, dog in madness, lion in prey (III.iv.85-95) This statement by Edgar shows very well how different animals are corresponded to different characteristics and consequently when these metaphorized animals are used as source domain for referring to human being as target domain, their characteristics are also transferred to human beings. Therefore, these metaphors play a major role for creating a coherent text about different characteristics of human beings.


Metaphor is one of the mostly used and discussed tropes in literary works. Due to this, there are various approaches to this figure of speech. Traditional approaches, derived mainly from the works of Aristotle, focus on formal approaches of metaphor in literary texts. On the basis of this, these approaches propose classifications of metaphor which are mainly based on formal features of metaphors in literary works. The main claim of such approaches is that metaphor is indeed a kind of implicit similarity and thus similarity plays a major role in creating any metaphor.

On the other hand, Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CMT), emerged from Cognitive Linguistics, is an approach to metaphor analysis which emphasizes the conceptual nature of metaphors. In this approach, metaphors are considered conceptual rather than linguistic. Sine metaphors are rooted in cognition; formal characteristics are useless for defining metaphors in this approach. Instead, a functional classification of metaphors is proposed which is usable for analyzing metaphors in different texts, not simply literary texts. The power of this approach is in its insistence on the ordinary nature of literary metaphors. According to this approach, literary metaphors are created on the basis of everyday language metaphors via certain mechanisms; that are, extension, elaboration, questioning and combination.

The CMT analysis of animal metaphors in King Lear shows that such an approach is very helpful in elucidating the structure and organization of this tragedy. The results of this study show that the conceptual metaphor “MAN IS ANIMAL” is vastly used in this play, but it is specified and subcategorized, too. The subcategorizations like “MAN IS A WILD ANIMAL”, “MAN IS A DANGEROUS ANIMAL”, “MAN IS A BEAST OF PREY” etc, are all

- 126 used for representing characteristics such as irrationality, disloyalty, opportunism, brutality, cruelty etc. As a result, a coherent metaphorical system about human characteristics is formed which, consequently, forms a coherent text about various human characteristics. In general, it seems that CMT is a more effective analytic tool for describing and explaining the role metaphorical systems play for injecting coherence into different texts.

REFERENCES ARISTOTLE, (1984). Rhetoric and Poetics. Tr. by W. Rhys Roberts and Ingram Bywater. New York: The Modern Library.

BECHTOLD, Heilman, R. (1948). This Great Stage: Image and Structure In King Lear. Washington: University of Washington Press.

BRADLEY, A. C. (1904). Shakespearean Tragedy. London: McMilan.

BUCK, Gertrude. (1899). The Metaphor: A Study In The Psychology of Rhetoric. Michigan: Inland Press.

CLEMEN, W. (1966). The Development of Shakespeare’s Imagery. London: Methuen.

ELLIS-FERMER, Una (1980). Shakespeare’s Drama. New York: Methuen.

EVANS, B.I. (1952). The Language of Shakespeare’s Plays. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

EVANS, V. & GREEN, M. (2006). Cognitive Linguistics: An Introduction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

GIBBS, R. W. (1994). The Poetics of Mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

GOODMAN, N. (1968). Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols. New York: Bobbs-Merrill Company.

HAWKWS, T. (1972). Metaphor. London: Methuen.

KNIGHT, Wilson G. (1964). The Wheel of Fire: Interpretations of Shakespearian Tragedy With Three New Essays. Cleveland and New York: Meridian Books KOVECSES, Z. (2010). Metaphor: A Practical Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

LAKOFF, G. & JOHNSON, M. (1980). Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

LAKOFF, G. & JOHNSON, M. (1999). Philosophy In The Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought.

New York: Basic Books.

LAKOFF, G. & TURNER, M. (1989). More Than Cool Reason: A Field Guide To Poetic Metaphor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

LEECH, G. (1981). Semantics. London: Penguin Books.

LEVIN, Samuel R. (1988). Metaphoric Worlds: Conceptions of Romantic Nature. New Haven: Yale University Press.

MCCLOSKEY, John C. (1962). “The Emotive Use of Animal Imagery In King Lear”. Shakespeare Quarterly, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp. 321-325 NUNBERG, G. (2002). “The Pragmatics of Deferred Interpretation” In Laurence Horn and Gregory Ward (Eds.)(2002).

The Blackwell Handbook of Pragmatics (pp.344-364). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

ONIONS, C.T (1980). A Shakespeare Glossary. Oxford: Clarend Press.

ORTONY, A. (Ed.) (1993). Metaphor and Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

PUNTER, David. (2007). Metaphor. London and New York: Routledge.

REDDY, M. (1979). “The Conduit Metaphor: A Case of Frame Conflict” In Our Language About Language” In A.

Ortony (Ed.), Metaphor and Thought (pp. 164-201). New York: Cambridge University Press RICHARDS, I. A. (1936). The Philosophy of Rhetoric. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

SCHMIDT, Alexander (1971). Shakespeare Lexicon and Quotation Dictionary. New York: Dover Publication.

SEARLE, J. (1979). Metaphor. In A. Ortony (Ed.), Metaphor and Thought (pp.92-123). New York: Cambridge University Press.

SEMINO, E. (2008). Metaphor In Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

SHAKESPEARE, William (Ed.)(1901). King Lear. New York: The University Society.

SPURGEON, C. (1935). Shakespeare’s Imagery and What It Tells Us. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

TURNER, M. (1987). Death Is The Mother of Beauty. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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