Date of Award
Master of Arts
Peter Van Elswyk
Rachel Goodman, Joshua Spencer
Metaphor, Poetry, Pragmatics, Semantics
The aim of this paper is to explain why the leading theories of metaphor fail when applied to metaphors which appear in poems. The ability to understand the true meaning of a metaphor in conversations relies on understanding speaker intention and extralinguistic context. This paper argues that because such material is not available to the reader of a poem, theories which rely heavily on pragmatics to explain metaphors cannot be successfully applied to metaphors which appear in poems. This paper makes use of the views on metaphor by John Searle and Paul Grice, and discusses how meaning is constructed in poetry, and in particular the sonnet, through Nelson Goodman’s theory of symbol systems.
Marciezyk, Savannah, "Poetics, Not Pragmatics: Understanding Metaphors in a Poetic Context" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 2221.