The caged eagle, whose gold-ringed eyes cruelty has extinguished, might look as looked that sightless Samson. (Jane Eyre)

Is as a relative pronoun that has the caged eagle as its antecedent?
(It seems as-clause is a complement in the whole sentence, and it is also a subject in its clause. So it could be said a nominal relative clause. This idea seems plausible, yet I can’t find the use of as.)

  • What made you think it is a pronoun, of whatever kind? How is the research going so far? Can you share your findings? – Kris Apr 9 '13 at 6:53
  • @Kris I added what I so far have found and imagined. – Listenever Apr 9 '13 at 7:30
  • 2
    That portion of the sentence can be rephrased as "might look like that sightless Samson looked." As functions in the same manner as like here. – user13141 Apr 9 '13 at 8:47
  • @onomatomaniak Isn't like one of the synonyms of as? Why does it even need to 'function like' like? – Kris Apr 10 '13 at 5:30

No. as in this case is a conjunction. From Wikitonary, one of the definitions of as is the following, which matches your use:

as Conjunction (dated)

Introducing a comparison with a hypothetical state (+ subjunctive); ‘as though’, ‘as if’. [to 19th century]

1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Acts II:

  • And sodenly there cam a sounde from heven as it had bene the commynge off a myghty wynde* [...].

c. 1616, William Shakespeare, King Henry VI part 2, First Folio 1623, I.1:

Oft haue I seene the haughty Cardinall, / More like a Souldier then a man o'th' Church, / As stout and proud as he were Lord of all [...].

This is one of the problems of reading very old texts - you will have to deal with the fact that dated English sometimes has slightly different usage and/or grammar to modern English.

  • 4
    It's not Old English, it's Modern English, but it is dated. Shakespeare counts as (early) Modern English. – Matt E. Эллен Apr 9 '13 at 10:45
  • 3
    @MattЭллен: I meant to say "old English" in the layman sense that it is English which is old. Shakespeare may be "Modern English" in the technical sense, but 1616 texts are not modern. I mean, for heaven's sake - that's like, pre-Internet, or something. People back then had to text each other with a pen and mail the text to each other. That's not modern. :) – Matt Apr 9 '13 at 16:20
  • @Matt +1 Great observation! 'not modern': like, pre-Internet. With you on that one. – Kris Apr 10 '13 at 5:34
  • @Matt They didn't even mail it. They had to hire a courier. – Kit Z. Fox Apr 10 '13 at 12:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.