Metaphorical Representation of Time in the English Renaissance Literature

Author’s name:

E. A. Nilsen


The research focuses on metaphorical time representation in the English language in the Renaissance period. The author analyses such models as TIME is a CONTAINER, TIME is a MOVING OBJECT, TIME is a ROAD, TIME is a POSSESSION, and TIME is a MASTER, using G. Fauconnier and M. Turner’s conceptual integration theory. In the frame of TIME is a ROAD metaphor, life is seen as the road along which a person moves from the point of her birth to the point of her death, with important events of her allocated on this road in a strict linear sequence. The person moves along the road of her life following the unidirectional vector of her life path, and various events and circumstances can move towards her on this road. In the case of TIME is a MOVING OBJECT model explication, time is an active dynamic subject, which is capable of changing both itself and the surrounding space. In the frame of TIME is a MASTER metaphor, time is seen as a possessor of the highest power. It affects people and their surroundings, it can help a person or prevent her from fulfilling her plans, execute a person or have mercy. TIME is a POSSESSION model represents time as money or an object which people can take, give, steal, sell, buy, spend, save, etc. Time is an exhaustible resource of the highest value. When TIME is a CONTAINER model is verbalized, time is capable of acting as a receptacle of events, feelings, etc. The author arrives at the conclusion that the main features of time perception in that period are its irreversibility, fleetness, value, its power to change reality or contain events. Time was often perceived as a master or an antagonist whom people tried to defeat but never could. This is the main difference between the explication of temporality in the Renaissance literature and its representation in the texts of earlier eras, when people believed that their fate was completely predetermined by higher powers. In the Renaissance period people seem to gain much greater inner freedom. Nevertheless, even when a person made attempts to fight her fate, she was not able to change the existing order of things, since it was seen as natural and predetermined by God.

DOI: 10.47388/2072-3490/lunn2020-49-1-69-85
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Key words time; metaphor; Renaissance English literature.


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