What are the metaphors used in the poem "Night of the Scorpion"? Please identify all of them and include a detailed description.

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As another reviewer stated, "Night of the Scorpion" is not heavy on metaphors. There is more imagery and descriptive detail in the way Nissim Ezekiel presents the anecdote of a scorpion stinging his mother and the way the community reacted as she was poisoned and then eventually freed of the...

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As another reviewer stated, "Night of the Scorpion" is not heavy on metaphors. There is more imagery and descriptive detail in the way Nissim Ezekiel presents the anecdote of a scorpion stinging his mother and the way the community reacted as she was poisoned and then eventually freed of the poison.

Still, you could argue that some of the poet's descriptions of the scorpion are metaphorical, as they are not literal. For example, Ezekiel writes,

Parting with his poison—flash
of diabolic tail in the dark room—
he risked the rain again.

The peasants came like swarms of flies
and buzzed the name of God a hundred times
to paralyse the Evil One.

In these stanzas, the scorpion has a "diabolical tale" and is referred to as "the Evil One." These phrases indicate that the poet and the community see this scorpion as Satan incarnate. In the second of these stanzas, we see more figurative language in the description of "The peasants." They are compared to "flies" as they "buzzed" against the evil scorpion's power by invoking God. The poet uses "like" to state this comparison, though, so it is a simile rather than a metaphor.

Generally speaking, the act of trying to heal the poet's mother from the scorpion's poison is presented as a sort of ritualistic cleansing. At the end of the poem, the mother's final thought after being cleansed of the poison is to "Thank God the scorpion picked on [her] / And spared [her] children." This final stanza implies that the mother's experience is a metaphor for or a symbol of her love for her children and the sacrifices she is willing to make for their well-being.

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A metaphor is a comparison that does not use the word "like" or "as."

"Night of the Scorpion," by Nissim Ezekiel, does not use a great number of metaphors.  Most of the poem consists of straightforward description of what the people did and what they said in attempting to cure the narrator's mother of a scorpion bite.

One metaphor that is used is: "I watched the holy man perform his rites / to tame the poison with an incantation."  The rituals of the holy man are compared to to the taming of a wild animal.

Another one is used when the father tries to cure the bite by putting a lit match on the bite.  The narrator says, "I watched the flame feeding on my mother."  A flame, of course, does not actually "feed" or eat; rather, the poet is comparing the fire to a living being that consumes food.

There is an important simile in the poem; i.e., a comparison that does use the word "like" or "as."

The peasants came like swarms of flies and buzzed the name of God a hundred times to paralyse the Evil One.

By comparing the peasants to "swarms of flies," the narrator seems to belittle their "medical" methods for curing the bite.  The narrator seems to side more with his father who is "sceptic [and] rational."

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