Edward II

Edward II Metaphors and Similes

Metaphor: London

After Gaveston's exile is ended and he comes home to his lover, Edward, he enthuses, "the sight of London to my exiled eyes / Is an Elysium to a new-come soul" (I.1.10-11). Elysium is the section of Hades for the blessed souls, meaning it is Paradise. Thus, Gaveston compares himself seeing London after so long away with a soul arriving in the underworld and going to eternal paradise.

Metaphor: Edward and Gaveston

Though it seems like the nobles do not necessarily like the homosexual nature of Gaveston and Edward's relationship, what is more troubling to them is that Gaveston is not of high birth and is thus not supposed to be elevated as he is. Pembroke wonders aloud, "Can kingly lions fawn on creeping ants?" (I.4.15). This metaphor aptly depicts Edward as the kingly lion that he is, fawning over the diminutive and decidedly un-special ant that is Gaveston.

Simile: Edward's Distress

Edward's love for Gaveston is intense, and he does not do well with the vicissitudes of their situation. At one point he says, "My heart is as an anvil unto sorrow, / Which beats upon it like the Cyclops' hammers" (I.4.312-313). This metaphor encapsulates his despair, for we imagine a heavy anvil with which the cruel Cyclops hits over and over again with his hammer. It is repetitive, dully painful, and hard to watch and listen to.

Metaphor: Edward as Lion

Edward is infuriated by what he sees as his nobles' audacity, cruelty, and irrationality. He uses metaphor to compare himself to a lion, proclaiming, "Yet shall the crowing of these cockerels / Affright a lion? Edward, unfold thy paws, / And let their lives' blood slake thy fury's hunger" (II.2.202-204). He depicts himself as strong, bold, and capable of dealing great damage to those in his way, which is an important image for him to keep in mind as he begins to engage in outright war with his nobles.

Simile: Edward as Child

Baldock and Spencer have to work to raise Edward's ire and desire for revenge, for his lion-like persona (see above metaphor) doesn't always come easily to him. Baldock says at one point, "This haught resolve becomes your majesty, / Not to be tied to their affection / As though your highness were a schoolboy still / And must be awed and governed like a child" (III.2.28-31). Comparing Edward to a schoolboy who is in awe of his superiors is certainly not what the King of England wishes, and it reinforces his desire to prove his masculinity and power by fighting back.