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Allegory-Definition and Examples

What is an Allegory Definition and Examples

An Allegory is a literary device that is used to create a complex, multi-layered narrative. A writer will use material objects, people, and/or actions to express abstract ideas, situations, or events.

Allegories come in a variety of forms, but the most common are fable, parable, apologue, and satire.

In Modern times, allegory is used to discuss politics ad historical events.

Plato, Cicero, Apuleius, and Augustine were known to use Allegories, but the device did not flourish until the Middle Ages where it was found in sustained narratives.

Examples of Allegorical Literature

The most influential Allegory from the Medieval period is Le Roman de la Rose (this link will take you to the poem's text, but it is in French). This poem is attributed to Guillaume de Lorris, but virtually nothing is known about him.

Absalom and Achitophel by John Dryden (example of a satirical allegory)

Animal Farm by George Orwell (this allegorical narrative is disguised as a fable)

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Divine Comedy by Dante

Everyman it is unknown who authored this morality play

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe

The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

What is an Allegory Definition and Examples Sources

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