A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object. Metaphor is a type of analogy and is closely related to other rhetoricalfigures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance including allegory, hyperbole, and simile.
In simpler terms, a metaphor compares two objects/things without using the words “like” or “as”.
One of the most prominent examples of a metaphor in English literature is the All the world’s a stage monologue from As You Like It:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
—William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 2/7
This example contains a metaphor because the world is not literally a stage. By figuratively asserting that the world is a stage, Shakespeare uses the points of comparison between the world and a stage to convey an understanding about the mechanics of the world and the lives of the people within it. A metaphor can assist in making an idea more easily understood.