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Volume 27 - Page 184 of 212 Index | Zoom | |
If Metaphor is more forceful that Simile, Hypocatastasis is more forceful than either.
Had Macduff said to Macbeth "Turn, thou man, that art like a hound out of hell", it would
have been a strong expression, and yet not true to the language of passion. Had
Shakespeare used the figure Metaphor instead, Macduff would have cried "Macbeth, you
are a hell-hound". But neither Simile nor Metaphor are sufficient here. True to the
feeling and language of a man whose wife and little ones had already suffered at the
hands of Macbeth, Macduff throws aside all reserve, and uses the figure of Implication,
Hypocatastasis: "Turn, hell-hound, turn."
This is the superlative degree of comparison, implying without stating the comparison.
Let us now consider a few examples of each figure.
"He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water" (Psa. 1: 3).
"The ungodly . . . . . are like the chaff which the wind driveth away" (Psa. 1: 4).
"Ye were as sheep going astray" (I Pet. 2: 25).
These are examples of the simplest form of Simile, and require no further explanation.
Sometimes, however, the figure is used rather differently, and then demands care.
"And when the people were as murmurers" (Num. 11: 1, Margin).
"Jerusalem is builded together as a city that is compact together" (Psa. 122: 3).
In both these cases the actual fact was true. The people were actually murmurers and
Jerusalem was actually a compact city.
Sometimes the word "as" is followed by "so". A repeated alternation of this kind is
found in Isa. 24: 2:--
"As with the people, So with the priest;
As with the servant, So with the master;
As with the maid, So with the mistress;
As with the buyer, So with the seller;
As with the lender, So with the borrower;
As with the taker of usury, So with the giver of usury to him."
We must now give our attention to the more robust figure of Metaphor. Meta means
"beyond" or "over", phero "to carry"; hence the idea of transference.
There is one point that should be carefully noticed here. The whole of the figure lies
in the verb; the nouns remain literal and unchanged. For example, "All flesh is grass."
Here the words "flesh" and "grass" remain unchanged. Both are literal. The figure
resides in the verb "is", and in the statement that one is the other.