Metaphor in Sonnet 94
Metaphor Examples in Sonnet 94:
"dignity..." See in text (Sonnet 94)
The weed could also be interpreted as the speaker who self-consciously recognizes that his dalliance with the youth corrupts both his beauty and class status. However, within this metaphor, in which the weed “outbraves his dignity,” the speaker suggest that there is an action that can elevate the “base weed.” This could be interpreted as the speaker’s poetry being able to give him dignity.
"basest..." See in text (Sonnet 94)
In repeating “base,” the speaker suggests that the “base infection” is the “base weed.” This comparison underscores the extended class metaphor that exists throughout the poem. The “base weed” could be interpreted as a member of the lower class tainting the high class “flower” with its lower social rank.
"stewards..." See in text (Sonnet 94)
The metaphor of aristocratic land ownership continues. The alternative to owning, and thus controlling, one’s beauty is to be “steward” of it. A steward tends the land of another, rather than owning it. A beautiful person who acts as “steward of their excellence” allows their beauty to be used according to the agenda of others.
"expense..." See in text (Sonnet 94)
“Expense” has connotations of reckless spending and waste. It also has sexual undertones. The connotations of this word point to the extended class metaphor threaded throughout the poem. Those who have inherited “heaven’s graces,” beauty and high social class, must keep both beauty and class pure by preventing “expense”— in terms of reckless actions, wasteful spending, or sexual affairs with those of lower status.
"heaven's graces..." See in text (Sonnet 94)
“Heaven’s graces” refers to both one’s beauty and class here. This metaphor suggests that these two elements of social power come from God, which in turn elevates both beauty standards and the social hierarchy.