Metaphors and Allegory

This week we looked at metaphors and allegory within an image. A metaphor is a figure of speech in which term is transferred to something it does not literally apply to. A metaphor should not be confused with simile where a simile makes the comparison explicit by using “like” or “as”. Allegory is a story with a meaning other than the literal one or a description of one thing under the image of another.

In this session we looked at two images which are based upon the image “Ophelia” by John Everett Millais. The painting is of a girl laying in a river, fully clothed, looking dull and lifeless. These images when looked into have a much deeper meaning that what is just on the surface.

Ophelia, John Everett Millais (painting)

The colours in this image are very muted and dull. The girl and the area which she is laid in is limp, lifeless and peaceful, however you can see the busy city behind the bushes, almost hidden but slightly showing. The camera is above the girl looking down onto her, which is perhaps to emphasise that she is submerged. There is allegory within this image. This image was based on the story of a girl who on her way home from a drunken night out, fell into a river.

On the Way Home, Tom Hunter

There are no main lights in this setting, just natural light from outside, which is flooding in through windows and small lamps. This gives an idea of the time of day, as well as the clock which is in the background showing it is 10 past 4.The room looks dirty and oldfashioned. There are 3 pictures on the wall which could be family pictures, these are mirrored by the windows on the door. Her slippers and robe are on the stairs which could show that she took them off before coming down or perhaps tripped over her slippers. She is wearing just a white night dress. White symbolises purity and heaven. There is a medicine bottle and glass of water on the table by where she is laying, which if she comitted suicide could have been the way. The stairs look like the only way to get out of this room. They are lit by the natural lighting and could be seen as the stairway to heaven.

Untitled, Gregory Crewdson


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