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Figurative language in "Bohemian Rhapsody" Can someone help me get the figurative...

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icaghost | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 30, 2012 at 6:52 AM via web

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Figurative language in "Bohemian Rhapsody"

Can someone help me get the figurative language from the song "Bohemian Rhapsody?"

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shake99 | Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted August 30, 2012 at 10:55 AM (Answer #2)

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What a cool song that was back in the 70's!

Figurative language is the comparison of two unlike things that is not literally true. Writers use figurative language to describe something or make a point.

Queen uses some simple figurative language in several points in the song. Near the beginning we have the line

Caught in a landslide

no escape from reality

This is figurative language because the speaker (or singer, in this case) is not really in a "landslide." If he was he would be covered with rocks and earth. Therefore the statement is not literally true. The meaning is figurative: he is trying to say that his life is overwhelming him in some way.

This type of figurative language is called a metaphor.

There are other instances of figurative language in the song also.


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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:57 PM (Answer #3)

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The words "any way the wind blows" are used to describe being easy-going (actually, so is "easy come, easy go"). These are idioms or metaphors. They mean that the person just goes along with what others say. Since they are commonly used, that makes them idioms.
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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 5, 2012 at 5:01 AM (Answer #4)

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In Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," there are a several uses of figurative language. The following line is an example of a euphemism.

Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth...

A euphemism is defined as:

...the use of an indirect, mild, delicate, inoffensive, or vague word or expression for one thought to be coarse, sordid, or otherwise unpleasant, offensive, or blunt.

In other words, is a nice way of referring to something unpleasant or nasty. For example, one may "pass away" rather than "croak," "keel over" or "die." In this line of the song, "face the truth" can be perceived to mean that the speaker must either face the consequences of his actions or perhaps even execution for murder.

In The Merchant of Venice, Gratiano speaks of a ring with the inscription, "Love me and leave me not." (V.i.149) It is possible that the following line of the song is borrowed from Shakespeare's play—if so, this is called an allusion. (It might also be a line borrowed from a movie title from 1955, Love Me or Leave Me.)

So you think you can love me and leave me to die...

An allusion is a reference to a well-known person, place, idea—or even a phrase. Its purpose is to bring the essence of what is familiar in the original person, idea, etc., to that which is being compared to so as to may it more meaningful, more impactful.

The purpose of allusion is to bring a world of experience outside the limitations of a statement to the reader.

In literature, figurative language should not be taken literally. It is language employed to make one's writing, especially descriptions, more vivid to the reader.


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