Metaphor Analysis Essay

980 Words May 31st, 2012 4 Pages
Metaphor Analysis
The Sea and Dry Land

In his Preface to the play, Bolt informs the reader his main metaphors are the sea and dry land, to suggest the supernatural order vs. the human order. The sea is formless, vast, and unpredictable. The land is security, home, order, what is known. Thomas More paradoxically clings to the safety of law and land but finds himself swept by his religious faith out to sea. Bolt did not want a purely naturalistic play, he says, and the metaphors are a way to add scope and philosophic depth, as in a poem.

Thomas More is a home-loving man with his house and family in Chelsea and their well-ordered ways. In addition, he is a lawyer who believes in the law as the safeguard of the citizens: “The law is a
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Henry’s voracious power is foreshadowed by the story Norfolk tells to the Mores at the beginning of the play about the falcon that stoops five hundred feet to kill a heron. The stoop was “Like an Act of God” (Act One, p. 11), “a royal stoop,” though the heron was “clever” (p. 11). The falcon is Henry VIII and the heron is Thomas More. Henry’s sudden and deadly acts are well symbolized by the falcon who can attack so fast, it appears to be an act of God. Henry does see himself as having the divine right of kings and executes all his actions with the authority of God, such as defying the Pope and setting up his own church.

In a later scene in Act Two, Cromwell says that More is a “slippery fish,” and they need a “net with a finer mesh” to catch him (p. 103). During the last scene with his family, More calls his wife Alice “a lion” for her courage in standing by him to the bitter end (Act Two, p. 145). Henry calls his followers like Cromwell “jackals,” animals who eat the leftovers, while Henry calls himself a “lion” that provides the meat (Act One, p. 55). When More is imprisoned, and The Common Man is cast in the role of the jailer, he pleads for his lack of morality by saying “Better a live rat than a dead lion” (Act Two, p. 127). This makes the Common Man the rat and More the lion or noble one, though he dies for it. The differing use of the lion symbolism points out the

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