Meaning of Allegory

What is Allegory:

The allegory is a philosophical, artistic and literary concept that consists of the representation of a symbolic meaning. The word allegory is of Latin origin. allegorywhich translates to speaking figuratively.

as a literary figure, the allegory is a rhetorical device that represents an extended metaphor, and in some cases similar to personification or prosopopeia. The allegory consists of leaving aside the denotative sense of the word and putting into practice the figurative sense of the same, that is, it represents an idea or concept through allusive or metaphorical images, implying something different from what is being said. expressing.

See also:

  • Literary figures.
  • Metaphor.
  • Personification.

In this sense, the allegory can represent various meanings that transcend its literal sense, so that it uses symbols to represent one thing or idea through the appearance of another. For example: justice is represented by a blindfolded woman, carrying scales and a sword in her arms.

Allegory in philosophy

It is common to use the Myth of the Cave, written by the Greek philosopher Plato and based on the teachings of Socrates, through which he explains his theory of reality, where he stated that the only real thing is the intelligible world because the sensible world is only an illusion of the senses.

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

Plato’s allegory or myth of the cave focused on describing a cave with a group of men chained without being able to see the light, behind them was a wall, and then a bonfire that separated them from another group of men who transported everything. type of objects that, thanks to the bonfire, cast shadows on the wall that were considered true by the prisoners, who did not have the clarity of the light.

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One of the prisoners is released from the chains and goes out to the outside world knowing the reality. When the free man returns to the cave to free his imprisoned friends, no one listens and he is sentenced to death. With this allegory, you can see the importance of seeking the truth through knowledge of other realities, on the other hand, Plato reflects the teaching of Socrates by stating that man condemns his own death by helping men to reach the truth.

allegory in the bible

Through allegories it was possible to transcend the limits and reveal the mysteries in the construction of new ideas and paradigms that remained under-understood. In the texts of the Bible, it is known as religious allegories. For example:

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its taste, with what will it be salted? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.” (Matthew 5:13).

Taking into account the concept of allegory, the biblical verse can be interpreted as the relationship that exists between the disciples and the others and their importance for the community. In this sense, salt is interpreted as a positive aspect that prevents evil and keeps the community away from bad habits and sins.

examples of literary allegory

Cultivate a white rose

  • “I grow a white rose, / in June as in January, / for the sincere friend, / who gives me his frank hand”.

The poem is an allegory of friendship and its value, which must be provided for the sincere, sympathetic individual as well as for the cruel and false friend.

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Autumn song in spring

  • “In his arms he took my daydream/ and cooed it like a baby…/ and killed him, sad and small,/ lacking light, lacking faith…”
  • “Another judged that it was my mouth/ the case of her passion/ and that she would gnaw at my heart, crazy, with her teeth.”

Under these two examples, a situation of love-disappointment lived with the past, with old loves, explained from a mature age that misses the past and its experiences, is described through the allegory.