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What Are Different Metaphors for Love?

By R. Stamm
Updated May 23, 2024
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Different metaphors for love are written with the purpose of describing love in terms which are easy to relate to or understand. Some metaphors are designed to evoke positive feelings about the emotion by comparing it to common elements in nature such as love is a gentle breeze. Metaphors using objects, as in love is a key which unlocks the heart, can further describe the circumstances surrounding these feelings. The metaphor love is a fire that burns everyone may describe feelings of resentment or despair. Whatever their purpose, metaphors for love appear in literature, poetry and music from ancient civilizations to modern times.

The most common metaphors for love compare the feeling with natural elements or phenomenons. "Love is a rose with thorns" shows that while love is beautiful to behold, it often contains some thorns or difficulty. "Love is a flower or a garden" attempts to explain the need to care for and cultivate love. Forces of nature, such as in "love is a lightening bolt," illustrate the power of the feelings a person falling in love may experience. Metaphors about flames and fire explain the sparks between lovers and show how long the love lasts.

The metaphor "love is a journey" compares love to a journey in which the person learns a profound lesson along the way. These metaphors for love attempt to describe whether or not the trip was worth the effort in obtaining love. Certain writers deem the journey as worth the effort while others see the result as futile. The journey may be longer or shorter depending on the length of the actual relationship described.

Another way to compare the feelings of love is to show the emotion as people who are familiar to the reader. Love does not adhere to any set rules or laws. For this reason, it may be compared to a criminal, thief, or an outlaw. Common metaphors for love may employ a person such as a hunter to convey the impression that love finds the unsuspecting character and brings him down.

Writers may use a variety of everyday objects to describe the magnitude of the feelings involved with the emotion of love. For instance, keys reveal the unlocking of deep feelings of uncertainty or rapture associated with love. Walls portray persons who are closed off to the idea of love, and another person must tear down the walls to gain the heart’s desire. As long as the object portrays the feelings of the person afflicted with love, almost any object will work for a metaphor.

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