Identify and explain the metaphor in line 20-30 in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act I, scene i.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Stand forth, Lysander: and my gracious duke,
This man hath bewitch'd the bosom of my child;
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchanged love-tokens with my child:
Thou hast by moonlight at her window sung,
With feigning voice verses of feigning love,
And stolen the impression of her fantasy
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits,
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats, messengers
Of strong prevailment in unharden'd youth:
With cunning hast thou filch'd my daughter's heart, (A Midsummer Night Dream, Act I scene i, lines 20-30)

The metaphor being developed at length by Shakespeare in lines 20-30 of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act I scene i, is a comparison of Lysander's actions to witchcraft. A metaphor is a literary devices (specifically a trope that is a literary technique) that compares two unlike things to each other, like comparing an orange to a ping-pong paddle. In this scene, Egeus is complaining before the Duke that through trivial, potentially insincere actions, like bestowing locks of hair and singing beneath windows, Lysander has "bewitched" Hermia--made her fall frivolously in love--so that she no longer obeys her father but has headstrong ideas of her own--one headstrong idea of her own. That idea is to refuse to marry Demetrius and to insist upon marrying Lysander. Hermia's preference for Lysander is a problem because Egeus has promised Hermia in marriage to Demetrius. It is therefore Egeus' complaint that Lysander has acted unscrupulously and has underhandedly--through actions that take advantage of Hermia's "unharden'd youth"--turned her heart against obeying her father and against accepting the love of the man she has been promised to. Lysander

hath bewitch'd the bosom of [his] child;
Thou, thou, Lysander, thou hast given her rhymes,
And interchanged love-tokens with [his] child:

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