(from Woody Allen's 1979 film Manhattan)

Behind his black-rimmed glasses was the coiled sexual power of a jungle cat

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    Power is here thought of metaphorically as the potential force of a coiled spring under compression, or of a snake coiled so it may strike suddenly. Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 18:26

1 Answer 1


Imagine a metal spring that has been compressed. It contains lots of potential energy that can be released suddenly.

We use this as a metaphor. For example a cat will fold its legs when it is getting ready to jump on a mouse. Like the spring, it compresses its body to store energy before releasing it.

Here the metaphor is developed. The man is like a (wild) jungle cat. There is the potential for sexual energy, but hasn't been released yet.

You may expect it to be released in the next scenes.

But also remember that this is a comedy, part of the joke is the metaphor.

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