Allegory - Examples and Definition of Allegory in Literature


allegory examples in literature

Aug 21,  · Learn about allegories and how stories can be used to deliver messages, lessons or even commentaries on big concepts and institutions. Explore how . Allegory is a writing technique that can work wonders and create layers of deep meaning in a piece of literary work. We introduce you to some of the best works in literature that have used this figure of speech in the most effective Tulika Nair.

Famous Examples of Allegory in Literature and How to Analyze Them

An allegory is a work that conveys a hidden meaning—usually moral, spiritual, or political—through the use of symbolic characters and events. The story of "The Tortoise and The Hare" is a well-known allegory with a moral that a slow and steady approach symbolized by the Tortoise is better than a hasty and overconfident approach symbolized by the Hare. So, to put it another way: an allegory is a type of work or story that represents some idea, concept, or historical event that is different from the literal events contained within the story.

Symbolism is the technique that an allegory uses in order to be able to represent and communicate its deeper meaning. Allegories use symbolism in all sorts of ways. While the types of symbols in allegories are so varied that it's not possible to categorize them all, it is possible to group them into two broad categories. Characters, allegory examples in literature, events, locations, allegory examples in literature, and objects in allegories usually symbolize:, allegory examples in literature.

Although the symbolism in some allegories can be quite subtle, it's more often the case that the symbolism is clear or even heavy-handed. For example, Mr. Legality, allegory examples in literature, who symbolizes a mindset focused around the law, is named Mr.

Similarly, in Geoffrey Chaucer's House of FameLady Fame is the name of a character who determines the social reputations of others. While allegories do involve a lot allegory examples in literature symbolism, the presence of symbolism in a work does not automatically make that work an allegory.

Rather, an allegory is a story in which the majority of characters and plot developments serve as symbols for something else, or in which the entire storyline is symbolic of a broader concept, idea, historical event, or phenomenon in society.

But a story or poem can contain symbols while not functioning as an allegory. An example might be helpful:. There are two main types of allegory. The basic technique is allegory examples in literature same in both categories, but in each kind characters and events symbolize different things. It's certainly possible, and not uncommon, for a writer of an allegory to draw elements from both of these two types of allegory.

People often confuse allegories with parables—another, similar type of story that makes heavy use of symbolism to convey meaning. But in fact, the two terms mean quite different things. Here are some of the key differences between allegory and parable:. Allegory is one of the oldest literary forms, with writers long relying on allegory's ability to convey a moral or political message efficiently and discreetly.

Animal Farm is a political allegory. It tells the story of the animals on a farm owned by an abusive farmer. One night, a boar named Old Major gathers all the animals of the farm together. Knowing that he will soon die, Old Major gives a speech in which he reveals to the animals that men cause all the misery that animals endure, allegory examples in literature.

Old Major says that all animals are equal and urges them to join together to rebel. Old Major dies shortly thereafter, but the farm animals develop his ideas into the philosophy of Animalism, and they defeat the abusive farmer in an uprising, renaming the farm "Animal Farm.

Animal Farm is an allegorical story about communism, the political ideology that promotes the eradication of class and the equality of all people. Old Major symbolizes the fathers of communism, Karl Marx and Vladmir Lenin, while the hypocritical ruling class of pigs represents the Soviet Government in the wake of the Russian Revolution.

George Orwell likely chose to use an allegorical story to attack totalitarianism rather than attacking it directly or explicitly because it was such a sensitive political subject at the time that he wrote the book In Book II of Paradise Losta character known as Sin describes how she gave birth to Death after she was impregnated by Satan or the devilallegory examples in literature, who is her own father, allegory examples in literature.

Her story is allegorical because each character is highly symbolic, as are their relationships to one another. For instance, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, death didn't even exist until Satan tempted the first humans to sin.

In that sense, Satan gave rise to Sin, and together the two gave rise to Death. In this passage, Allegory examples in literature describes Sin giving birth to Death:. At last this odious offspring whom thou seest Thine own begotten, breaking allegory examples in literature way Tore through my entrails, allegory examples in literature, that with fear and pain Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew Transform'd: but allegory examples in literature my inbred enemy Forth issu'd, brandishing his fatal Dart Made to destroy: I fled, and cry'd out Death; Hell trembl'd at the hideous Name, and sigh'd From all her Caves, allegory examples in literature, and back resounded Death.

For thousands of years, philosophers have expressed their beliefs using allegories, particularly because allegorical narratives are handy for illustrating concepts that might otherwise be too abstract to explain easily. Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" is a classic and well-known example of allegory.

Consider the following lines, spoken by Socrates:. Imagine this: People live under the earth in a cavelike dwelling. Stretching a long way up toward the daylight is its entrance, allegory examples in literature, toward which the entire cave is gathered. The people have been in this dwelling since childhood, shackled by the legs and neck., allegory examples in literature. Thus they stay in the same place so that there is only one thing for them to look that: whatever they encounter in front of their faces.

But because they are shackled, they are unable to turn their heads around. It becomes apparent later in his dialogue that Socrates' imaginary prisoners are actually symbolic representations of the average person. The prisoners in his cave may perceive only what is dictated by their circumstances—for example, while in bondage, they cannot perceive the sun. Likewise, allegory examples in literature, people cannot access certain information about the universe by relying on their senses alone.

Thus, Plato posits the existence of a higher reality that can't be conceived of as long as people continue to believe that what they are capable of perceiving is all that is real. There is a long tradition of allegorical movies that represent historical figures or moral qualities through a allegory examples in literature of symbols. Guillermo del Toro's dark fantasy film is set during the Spanish Civil War of the s, and chronicles the journey of a girl named Ofelia into a fairy underworld she discovers near her home.

In the haunting final scenethe young Ofelia refuses to harm an innocent person, even though it will cost her the kingdom she had been promised by a mythical fawn, and ultimately her life. Though none of the characters in the film are actual historical figures, they symbolize the opposing sides of the Spanish Civil War.

If Ofelia is an allegorical figure for Spanish resistance to tyranny, her calculating stepfather who is a captain on the side of the country's military dictator represents Spanish officials' all-consuming allegory examples in literature of power and blind allegiance to the ideals of the dictatorship.

Authors might choose to write allegories for a number of reasons, and its certainly possible that an author might choose to write an allegory for more than one of the reasons below. Sign Allegory examples in literature Sign Up.

Allegory Definition. Allegory Examples. Allegory Function. Allegory Resources. LitCharts Teacher Editions. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. Detailed explanations, analysis, and citation info for every important quote on LitCharts.

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Allegory Definition What is an allegory? Some additional key details about allegory: Some allegories have morals that are easy to discern, such as the example of "The Tortoise and The Hare," but others can be so subtle that it becomes unclear whether the author intended for the story to have a double meaning or be an allegory at all.

Although all allegories use symbolism heavily, not all writing that uses symbolism qualifies as allegory. Allegories are characterized by a use of symbolism that permeates the entire story, to the extent that essentially all major characters and their actions can be understood as having symbolic significance.

An allegory can be long and extend over an allegory examples in literature book or even a series of books, or it can be short or a part of a longer work such as the Allegory of the Cave in Book 7 of Plato's Republic. Allegory Pronunciation Here's how to pronounce allegory: al -ih-gore-ee Allegory vs.

Symbolism Allegory and symbolism are often confused, but they are not the same thing. Symbolism is the use of symbols, usually physical objects, to represent abstract ideas or allegory examples in literature. For instance, in To Kill a Mockingbird the mockingbird symbolizes innocence and beauty. Allegory is allegory examples in literature work that makes extensive use of symbolism in order to communicate a broader moral or meaning. Nearly every aspect of an allegory—from characters, to objects, to dialogue, to settings, to major plot events—can typically be interpreted as having a secondary, symbolic meaning that fits into the allegory's broader meaning, allegory examples in literature.

For instance, in the 17th-century allegory Pilgrim's Progressthe protagonist named "Christian" and his journey, as well as every other character, object, and location he interacts with along the way, symbolically allegory examples in literature into a larger moral or lesson about the proper "path" to reach heaven. How Allegories Use Symbolism Allegories use symbolism in all sorts of ways.

Characters, events, locations, and objects in allegories usually symbolize: Virtues, vices, or other abstract ideas. For instance, a crooked banker might symbolize greed, while the character of Mr. Legality in the allegory examples in literature Pilgrim's Progress symbolizes a viewpoint that prioritizes the law over faith in Jesus Christ.

Real people and specific historical events. For example, one character might symbolize Queen Elizabeth I, or two characters might symbolize opposing sides in the American Civil War. Not All Symbolism is Allegory While allegories do involve a lot of symbolism, the presence of symbolism in a work does not automatically make that work an allegory.

Its characters are not very complex or deep: they're meant to embody virtues or ideas more than they allegory examples in literature meant to resemble real people. Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter contains lots of symbolism, but it is not an allegory.

The protagonist, Hester Prynne, as well as every other significant character exhibit a great deal of psychological and emotional complexity and individuality. While the novel is full of symbols, the complexity of the characters mean that it wouldn't really make sense to say that The Scarlet Letter is an allegory about adultery. Rather, it's a novel that allegory examples in literature literally about characters in Puritan times who are affected by adultery, and the novel also has symbolic aspects to deepen and intensify its various themes.

In short, all allegories are highly symbolic, but not all symbolic writing is allegorical. Types of Allegory There are two main types of allegory, allegory examples in literature. Historical allegories: Writing in this category allegorizes historical figures and events.

Writers of this kind of allegory may be using symbols to mask the true subject of their writing for instance, to avoid censorship or punishmentor to effectively distill a complex history into a more simplified and vivid story that will engage readers on an emotional and aesthetic level.

A good example of this type of allegory is George Orwell's Animal Farmwhich corresponds pretty closely to the events of the Russian revolution.

Conceptual allegories: This kind of allegory uses characters and events to symbolize abstract things rather than actual events or people. For example, it's common for writers of conceptual allegories to use characters that embody particular moral qualities, allegory examples in literature, such as purity or love.

Most religious and social allegories fall under this category, since they usually don't have to do with a specific person or historical event, but rather some virtue or vice more generally. In "The Pardoner's Tale," a story in Chaucer's The Canterbury Talesa character known as the Pardoner asserts that greed is the root of all evil, and illustrates the point using an allegory in which three drunken men set out to find a character known as "Death," but find a small fortune in gold instead.


Allegory: Definition and Examples |


allegory examples in literature


Aug 21,  · Learn about allegories and how stories can be used to deliver messages, lessons or even commentaries on big concepts and institutions. Explore how . Allegory is a writing technique that can work wonders and create layers of deep meaning in a piece of literary work. We introduce you to some of the best works in literature that have used this figure of speech in the most effective Tulika Nair.