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Linguistic forms and the way of using languages are closely connected with people’s way of thinking. People first create images in their thoughts and then express them with the help of a language. There are many different ways of this expression, which have a huge impact on associations that people will create while explaining something to others. The main purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of a conceptual metaphor and explain its meaning with examples and their impact on perception. The metaphor under analysis is “Love is magic.” In addition, attention will be paid on target and source domains and mapping between them. The paper will also focus on the metaphor’s influence on culture, social media, language, and even people’s view of such fundamental ideas as love, emotions, and relationship.
A Brief Overview
A metaphor is a figure of speech used to explain one thing through comparing it to the other. There are many types of metaphors, such as complex, creative, visual, conceptual, etc. In a conceptual metaphor, which is analyzed in this paper, there are two conceptual domains: source and target. A source domain is a thing from which one takes explanation. A target domain, on the other hand, is something that people try to understand with a metaphor. These domains are interconnected with mapping, which is a systematic set of correspondences between them. Conceptual metaphors are widely used in numerous areas ranging from advertising to politics. One can see many examples of strong language expressions developed from one conceptual metaphor.
Metaphors about Love
Since the very beginning of humanity existence, love has been one of the most popular topics in art. This feeling has always been important regardless of cultural differences, political systems, and traditions. People have been always communicating with each other and talking about things that were important for them. Thus, there exist so many expressions about love in all languages around the world. When someone has strong feelings, he or she usually wants to express them, explain to the other people, and share with a beloved person. Here are some examples of metaphors about love:
- “Love is a journey.” This metaphor is widely used when people are talking about relationship. For instance, people say, “relationship is going to nowhere,” when there are some problems between two people and that soon their love may end.
- “Love is a unity.” It means that people in love became very close to each other emotionally. Usually they say, “We are one” or “He/she is my second half” to express it, and this makes their relationship special for them.
- “Love is madness.” This metaphor usually expresses how strong the feeling of love is, because it makes people do something very unusual and even become mad due to it. This metaphor was used by many classics of literature like William Shakespeare and Mark Twain.
- “Love is a disease.” The meaning of this metaphor is close to the previous, because it emphasizes that people change under the influence of love. However, this expression can be also used to notice that the majority of people at least once fall in love.
- “Love is magic.” Usually, it means that love can take control of people or explain their impression of it. It also explains that love changes people’s view of life and the way they perceive the world. There are many expressions based on this metaphor, and it is widely used in art, literature, and music.
The Target and Source Domains of the Metaphor “Love Is Magic”
In this metaphor, the target domain is love. People are trying to explain their feelings and share experience, so this target domain is widespread. Usually, it is used to explain not only feelings but also relationship or a beloved person. The source domain is magic. This word is used to compare the effect of love to that of magic. This comparison is popular, because magic is something people cannot explain, and so is love. The metaphor “Love is Magic” is closely related to another metaphor about love “Love is Force.” It is used to explain how love takes control over people. In most cases, people say that the force of love is stronger than they are. There is widely used expression about it, “I can’t help falling in love,” which explains how people become passive about feelings and cannot control their emotions. The metaphor “Love is Magic” is also popular, because the influence of love is so strong that people can compare it only to magic as something unexplainable.
The correspondence between these two domains is the force, which can take someone under control or change someone’s view of life. For example, the word “to enchant” means to put a spell on something/someone or to influence by charm. If a person is described as “enchanting,” one can understand that he or she has something special in appearance or behavior. This thing may seem as the source of the force which makes another person “enchanted.” This “enchanting” person becomes attractive for the other people, but one cannot explain what exactly the reason is. Therefore, that is why it is possible to compare love to magic: because there are no logical explanations of what is happening.
Examples of Metaphor in Language Expressions
- “He had me hypnotized.” This example shows that love took control over someone. The word “hypnosis” is defined as the state of a person, when he or she is deeply relaxed. In this state, a person becomes more accessible, so it is easier to make him/her do different things or pick the idea in his/her mind. When comparing it to love, it can often mean that a person is not able to think critically and the thoughts about love object can become obsessive. Therefore, a beloved one can have a high influence on this person and the other one may not even notice it.
- “She is bewitching.” The word “bewitching” is synonymous to “enchanting.” As mentioned earlier, it refers to high attractiveness of one person, which is usually inexplicable. This expression can also be related to the other examples, such as “He cast his spell over me” or “I was charmed by her.” All of them have a similar meaning, when love takes control over someone and he or she cannot help being in this state. These expressions can have their roots from old legends and pagan rituals. In old folk tales, there are many stories about some magic powder, spell or potion, which can make someone fall in love. One can also find a parallel in Greek mythology. There is a character, Eros, who has magic arrows. When he shoots someone with this arrow, this person falls in love and no one can cancel the spell as well as in folk tales about love potion.
- “The magic is over.” This is usually used when the relationship is over. When someone stops loving a person, everything turns back to its places. This person may feel devastated, and even the world may seem to look less colorful. That means that one does not feel love anymore and the beloved one is no more attractive. It is impossible to say that he or she is enchanting, because a person feels nothing and his/her emotions are not controlling the mind any more. The magic is over, and that is all one can say about the past relationship.
Impact on Culture and Social Media
Nowadays, people do not believe in a magician with magic potions or a cupid with his bow. Nevertheless, the metaphor “Love is Magic” still has big sense and is widely used. Undoubtedly, old tales still have a huge impact on people as one still cannot explain love and it seems that it is something so strong just like hundreds of years ago. People can also find love as something that changes the world around them in a magical way. This idea of love magic has always been involved to all kind of arts. It appears in such significant pieces as medieval poetry, in particular “Thristan and Iseult,” where love potion controls the main characters’ feelings, as well as in several Greek myths about Eros, etc. One can also hear this metaphor in music lyrics. A great example is Harold Arlen’s popular song “That Old Black Magic,” where love is described as witchcraft and spell:
That old black magic has me in its spell
That old black magic that you weave so well
Those icy fingers up and down my spine
The same old witchcraft when your eyes meet mine
Therefore, people still have association with love and magic. It is evident in advertising, where, under the power of love potion or in reference to a legendary cupid, someone starts doing something mad. Usually, it is seen in adverts and slogans of different perfumes. A product is presented as a magic thing, which can make anyone fall in love with you and take under control any person just like love potion. Here are some examples: “Catch the fever” as a slogan of “Heat” perfume, “No bottles to break – just hearts” for “Arprege” perfume. There is also a popular slogan for some jewelry: “Ring on your finger, necklace on your neck, and men on their knees.” All these slogans strongly refer to the metaphor “Love is magic,” so the brand makers can use it to make association with the product and love.
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Conceptual metaphors have a huge impact on people’s behavior, culture, and language. The metaphor “Love is Magic,” which was analyzed in this paper, is a great example. It is sometimes used to remove responsibility for actions, as they were done under influence of love and, of course, it is widely used to express feelings. This figure of speech and related expressions changed people’s view of love and relationship and created numerous masterpieces in literature, music, and art.