Metaphors they lived by in Ancient Egypt: analysing the prophecy of Neferty & the admonitions of Ipuwer
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 00:54 by Sophie Kate Harris
For the ancient Egyptians, metaphors were predominant throughout the written expression of their civilisation, a feature that has captured significant academic attention. Yet, in spite of metaphor having long been a focus of Egyptological studies, it has frequently been treated as merely a means of linguistic ornamentation, without a deeper meaning or function in its respective text. The aim of this thesis is to identify, quantify, and qualify the metaphors employed within the Middle Kingdom texts The Prophecy of Neferty and The Admonitions of Ipuwer, in order to assess the rhetorical and ideological function of the metaphors within these literary texts. This was achieved through modern methods of metaphor analysis, namely, Conceptual Metaphor Theory. In the rhetoric of Neferty and Ipuwer, metaphors were predominantly assigned negative evaluations. The accumulation of these negative metaphors was not accidental on the part of the Egyptians, but rather, when holistically analysed, they are shown to cluster and point to the underlying mega metaphors ISFET IS BAD and MA'AT IS GOOD. While one might argue that these thematic ideological concepts of ISFET and MA'AT are already recognisable to readers in a cursory reading, an analysis of the metaphors in these texts demonstrates that metaphor is not used for mere ornamentation or as a method for padding out gaps in a text.Instead, metaphor is an integral part of rhetorically shaping and driving the compositional essence of these two narratives.