The Coquette

The Coquette Metaphors and Similes

Laying Siege (Metaphor)

Major Sanford uses the metaphor of laying siege to a fortress to explain how he sought to seduce Eliza.

Ignis Fatuus (Simile)

Sanford is compared to an "ignis fatuus," or "a light that sometimes appears in the night over marshy ground and is often attributable to the combustion of gas from decomposed organic matter" (m-w).

Merry Heart (Simile)

Eliza quotes a proverb, "a merry heart doth good like a medicine."

Equestrianism (Metaphor)

One critic, Julia Stern, believes equestrianism is a metaphor for female sexuality. When Eliza is riding she is free and associated with the object of her lust, Major Sanford.

Contract/Suit (Metaphor)

The contract, or suit, is used as a metaphor for marriage. It offers interesting insights into the realities of this institution in 18th-century America.