Allegories are stories with hidden meanings. Authors use allegory as an extended metaphor to make the reader more easily understand abstract ideas. If the author can do this well, they will have created a narrative with more nuance and dimension than if each character had been given a set of static traits.
An allegory is a story in which the objects, actions, and characters represent real-world elements. There are two types: symbolic and moral. A symbolic allegory is a story in which another means real-world objects or concepts, a more abstract form.
An example of an extended allegory is Animal Farm by George Orwell, where he uses farm animals and their behaviors to represent members of governments. A moral allegory uses symbols (such as characters) that stand for abstract qualities such as good vs. evil or purity vs. corruption.
An example of an allegory is the Bible, which mainly teaches about heaven, hell, and spiritual prison.
Examples of allegory include the books Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. In these novels, animals symbolize people who have power in society. Allegory is also used in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and Paradise Lost by John Milton.
- The world is full of sweets, but your teeth will gradually rot.
- Life is like a roller-coaster ride. It has its ups and downs. You feel you are up high and cannot stop, but the moment you want to get off, it’s too late.
- I thought life was like those old coats that never fit me; it just hung on your back, and you cannot escape it. But then, suddenly, something cuts right through it, and you are free again. (This example created by Mark Twain shows how we perceive life as burdensome due to his brother’s and his wife’s unexpected deaths.)
- Our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. (allegory is used to reinforce the political position of the author)
- I want to inform you firsthand that this country has a mentally ill president. (an allegory is used as an alternative way to say what can’t be expressed directly)
- The allegory can be compared to the ancient story of The Crow and The Pitcher. In that fable, a thirsty crow keeps trying to get water from an empty pitcher but always fails. A man then explains to the crow how he can drink from the pitcher by dropping pebbles until it is complete.
- The allegory in “Don Quixote” by Cervantes compares the positive characters with those noble, like Don Quixote, to the negative feelings that show low morals, such as Sancho Panza.
- The allegory conveys a new meaning and makes a point more clearly than a direct statement. The writer may also use allegorical characters, such as the personification of Death in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock or the struggles between humanity and machines in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
- The Allegory of the Cave by Plato provides an allegory for the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment is the process of a person’s awakening to how the world works and how people are beyond their consciousness. In this allegory, the cave’s exit represents Enlightenment, while those still living in it represent ordinary people who do not know anything other than darkness.
- “I am the vine, you are the branches” from the gospel of John is an allegory.
- “Animal Farm” by George Orwell is the story of the infamous government coup for control of the farm where animals attempt to overthrow their oppressors (human beings) and assume governing power over each other.
- “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift is an entirely fictional account written in 1726 by an English clergyman that depicts human life as it would exist if governed by reason rather than emotion.
- “The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan (Christian allegory); “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and its sequel.
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