An allegory is a literary device that is used to portray huge, complicated ideas in a simple way. Allegory helps writers to put some distance between themselves and the subjects they are describing, which is especially useful when those issues are forceful critiques of political or societal reality. The term "allegory" comes from the Greek word alsos meaning "other," and graphein means "to write." Thus, an allegory is "writing about other things."
Allegories can be divided into two main types: symbolic and narrative. In a symbolic allegory, different objects, actions, or states of mind are associated with different characters or figures. These associations give rise to conclusions or interpretations about what is going on within the story itself. For example, in George Orwell's novel Animal Farm, various animals on a farm become leaders over time, leading people to believe that they are worthy of being rulers over humans. However, it is known early on in the book that some animals are more capable than others at performing certain tasks, so this analogy can be drawn between the animals' successes as leaders and people's successes in life. This interpretation comes about because the reader knows that people are not actual animals, so the comparisons made between them are symbolic rather than literal.
In a narrative allegory, a story is told that explains something about real life. At the end of the story, it is revealed whether or not the explanation was correct.
An allegory is a literary device in which a character, setting, or event is utilized to convey a larger message about real-world events and happenings. Characters in allegories do not represent people who have lived or will live; rather, they stand for ideas or concepts that guide our understanding of humanity or the world around us.
Allegories can be used to make abstract ideas more accessible through fiction. They can also serve as a way for writers to explore different topics within their works. Many famous novels are considered allegories including The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Parable of the Sower by John Bunyan, and The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan and William Cowper.
Allegories use symbols to communicate meanings. Characters often act as mirrors reflecting back to the reader/listener the traits we want to show ourselves. For example, in The Divine Comedy, Dante uses figures from classical mythology to represent different virtues such as Fortitude (the Roman name for Bunyan's Grace), Prudence, Justice, and Wisdom. These characters act as mirrors reflecting back to the reader/listener qualities such as courage, humility, patience, and perseverance.
In addition to characters, other aspects of a story can also function as symbols.
An allegory is a work that uses symbolic characters and events to express a hidden message, generally moral, spiritual, or political. Although all allegories strongly employ symbolism, not all literature that employs symbolism qualifies as an allegory. Many stories use symbols that have a similar meaning to those in an allegory but are used for different purposes. For example, a knight might be sent on a quest to recover a sword that has been stolen from him. During his journey he encounters various obstacles that prevent him from reaching the thief immediately, but when at last he catches up with the villain he finds that he is now able to fight back.
Allegorical works include novels by Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol) and William Shakespeare (The Winter's Tale). Poems that use allegory include "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe and "Maniac" by Blake. Non-fiction books that use allegory include George Bernard Shaw's The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Frederic Raphael's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
Allegory is used by philosophers to explain how human actions affect the world around them. In Plato's The Republic, for example, Socrates uses the story of the Allegory of the Cave to show that justice is better than injustice because it allows people to live good lives even if they lack wisdom about what justice is.