What are the four metaphors and two similies in Alfred Noyes' poem "The Highwayman"?    

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As with most poetry, the English poet Alfred Noyes' "The Highwayman" displays numerous examples of metaphors and similes, the latter being distinguished by the use of the words "like" or "as" in drawing comparisons between two unrelated objects or concepts. Metaphors, in particular, are simple to identify in Noyes's poem, which tells the tragic story of love interrupted by jealousy, tyranny and terror. With such a theme as Noyes employs in "The Highwayman," the comparisons he uses cover a range of emotions.

Examples of metaphors occur in the opening stanza of "The Highwayman," as Noyes establishes the tone from which to relate the story of love between the titular figure and Bess, "the landlord’s black-eyed daughter:"

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.   
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.   
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor.
So, right from the start, we have three metaphors: comparing the wind to "a torrent of darkness," the moon to "a ghostly galleon," and the road to "a ribbon of moonlight." Another metaphor occurs in the fourth stanza in a line that also includes a simile: "His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay." This reference to Tim, the "ostler," or stablehand, compares this jealously-driven figure's eyes (he, as with the highwayman, is in love with Bess) to "hollows of madness." Employing a simile, Noyes next compares Tim's hair to "mouldy hay," the use of the word "like" signifying that this comparison involves a simile rather than a metaphor (the distinction being very subtle).
 
A second simile occurs in that same stanza, again referring to Tim, when the narrator describes this lowly figure as eavesdropping on the highwayman: "Dumb as a dog he listened." Again, the use of the word "as" in drawing the comparison between Tim and a canine marks this as an example of a simile rather than a metaphor.
 
The requested two similes have been identified, but a third occurs in the final stanza of Part I of "The Highwayman:"
He rose upright in the stirrups. He scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair in the casement. His face burnt like a brand.
The simile here is the phrase "his face burnt like a brand," as, again, "like" is used to draw a comparison between "face" and the iron tool heated to very high temperatures and used to "brand" or mark an animal, identifying the animal with a particular ranch or farm.
price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Similes and metaphors are literary devices called figures of speech that compare two unlike or dissimilar things to make a description more vivid or visual for the reader.  A simile uses the words “like” or “as” to make the comparison, a metaphor doesn’t use “like” or “as”.

Here’s a list of similes and metaphors from throughout the poem, “The Highwayman”  by Alfred Noyes.

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.  (metaphor) 

The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.  (metaphor) 

The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,   (metaphor)

 His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,  (metaphor/simile)

 Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—(simile)

 His face burnt like a brand (simile)

 When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon, looping the purple moor (metaphor)  

 Her face was like a light. (simile)

 Down like a dog on the highway (simile)

 

 

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