What is Allegory/meaning/concept/elaboration

Allegory is a literary device based on the hidden meaning of words. In this way, a narration with an apparent message hides a different parallel message. Normally, allegorical stories tell simple stories about individuals and animals, but at heart it is a reflection on abstract ideas.

Universal allegorical symbols

The figure of the dove communicates a concrete idea: peace. Likewise, the fox symbolizes cunning; the lion forces it; the raven the fatality and the serpent the concept of evil. Allegory

In addition to animals seen as symbols, allegory also resorts to personification. In this way, a character presents itself as a symbol of an abstract idea. Thus, the female figure with a blindfold and a scale in her hand represents justice ; a warrior can represent courage and a skeleton with a scythe is the best known image of death. Allegory

In literary creation

In literature, Greek fables represent one of the first allegorical accounts. In these stories there are two types of reading : real and symbolic or metaphorical. Thus, the events with animals are presented as an analogy to human reality . The famous fable of the cicada and the ant originally attributed to Aesop convey a clear moralistic message: work and constancy have their reward, while lazy behavior is a most pernicious temptation.

In Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy“, the author tells in the first person that he is lost in a dark jungle. Throughout the narrative, three beasts appear that impede his passage, and with the purpose of helping Dante, the poet Virgílio appears, offering himself to be his guide. Allegory

Both travel through hell and purgatory before reaching paradise. The development of the work is presented as an allegory where in reality there is a reflection on the sins and temptations human . Allegory

Distinction between parable and allegory

Both are literary resources that aim to convey some kind of teaching. Despite the clear similarity between one and the other, these are different narratives. The parable is an account inspired by everyday events with the purpose of communicating a moralistic message. Allegory has a more complex metaphorical dimension. In it, many times, different symbolic elements appear that allow any kind of interpretation. Allegory

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