Allegory is a representation of abstract ideas and principles by using characters, figures and events. It describes situations, events or express abstract ideas in terms of material, objects, persons, and actions. An allegory is a narrative form in which the characters are representative of some larger humanistic traits-greed, bravery, vanity- and attempt to convey some larger lesson or meaning to life. Simply, it is a symbolic fiction story.
The symbolic meaning of an allegory can be political, spiritual/religious, historical or philosophical. Allegories are like large metaphors, but they usually come in narrative form. These metaphors are used to reveal a broader hidden meaning or message about real-world issues and occurrences. Writers and speakers use allegories to convey those hidden or complex meanings through symbolic figures, actions, imagery, or events. Many allegories use personification of abstract concepts.
An allegory is a story with two sides: The first side carries the normal story which includes characters and plot and others. The second one is the symbolic side, or the deeper meaning that is represented by the characters, events of figures from the first side.
Although allegory was originally and traditionally character based, modern allegories tend to parallel story and theme. It can be employed in prose and poetry to tell a story, with a purpose of teaching or explaining an idea or a principle. The objective of its use is to teach some kind of a moral lesson.
√ Animal Farm by George Orwell, is a political allegory as it reflects the events leading up to Russian Revolution. Every character represents a real person in the Russian Revolution. It uses animals to describe the overthrow of the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, and the Communist Revolution of Russia before WW I. The animals on the farm represent different sections of Russian society after the revolution. For instance, the pigs represent those who came to power after the revolution; Mr. Jones, the owner of Manor Farm, represents the overthrown Tsar Nicholas II; Boxer the horse, represents the laborer class, while the dogs represent security force. The actions of the animals on the farm are used to expose the greed, corruption and evils of the revolution. It also describes how powerful people can change the ideology of a society.
√ Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan is a spiritual allegory. It tells the story a Christian sinner, who takes a journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City where God resides. This one represents the journey to Heaven. The moral from this allegory is that the journey to heaven is difficult and is full of obstacles.
√ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis is a religious allegory. In this work, we find that Aslan the lion represents Christ or God, the White Witch represents evil, while Edmund represents Judas the betrayer.
√ Faerie Queen is a great work of Edmund Spenser, is a moral and religious allegory. In the book, different virtues are represented by good characters, and vices are represented by bad characters. For instance, the Red-Cross Knight represents holiness, Lady Una stands for truth, wisdom, and goodness, Una’s parents symbolize the human race, and the Dragon represents evil.
√ The Lord of the Flies by William Golding is an allegory of society, morality, and religion. In it, the island represents the whole world, the conch stands for law and order, and the fire represents hope and destruction.
√ The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe is an allegory for death. The moral is no man escapes death.
√ Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel is an allegory for the great pain and suffering experienced by victims of the Holocaust.
√ Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne is an allegory using the Devil’s staff to defy God and eat the forbidden fruit.