The purpose of this study is to explicate the role of metaphor and metonymy in the Imagist poetry of Ezra Pound. Imagism based on the accuracy and concreteness of language contributed to the clearing of the sentimental and rhetorical styles of Victorian verse. An important part of this role is derived mainly from the figure of speech used by the Imagist poetry. Figure of speech is a technique that has been used throughout literary history, but the one in the Imagist poetry is not adopted for its own sake, nor for a decorative purpose. Its analogy is much more concise and accurate, optimized to convey the artist’s emotions. Particularly, metaphor or metonymy serves as the core axis in many of Pound’s Imagist poems.
To prove this, this study analyzes Pound’s major Imagist poems, including “Alba,” “Fan-Piece for Her Imperial Lord,” “The Jewel Stairs’ Grievance,” “Δώρια,” “The Tree,” “Gentildonna,” “Liu Ch’e” and “Papyrus”. In some cases, metaphor, and in some cases, metonymy, serves as the central technique of analogy; and in some cases, metaphor and metonymy are mixed; in some cases, in the middle of the work metonymy turns into metaphor. And in some cases, the analogy is so ambiguous that the judgment depends on the reader; and in some cases, the reader cannot find the explicit metaphor in the work itself. Sometimes it seems to exist in the reader’s imagination. All these analyses show us that metaphor and metonymy are the most essential part of Pound’s oeuvre.