Fandom

Penny's poetry pages Wiki

Allegory

10,382pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Comments0 Share
File:Filippino Lippi 001.jpg

Allegory is a figurative mode of representation conveying meaning other than the verbal. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation. Allegory is generally treated as a figure of rhetoric, but an allegory does not have to be expressed in language: briefly, an allegory is a device used to present an idea, principle or meaning, which can be presented in literary form, such as a poem or novel, or in visual form, such as in painting or drawing. As a literary device, an allegory in its most general sense is an extended metaphor. As an artistic device, an allegory is a visual symbolic representation. An example of a simple visual allegory is the image of the grim reaper. Viewers understand that the image of the grim reaper is a symbolic representation of death. Not every fiction with general application is an allegory.

EtymologyEdit

First attested in English 1382, the word allegory comes from Latin allegoria, the latinisation of the Greek ἀλληγορία (allegoria), "veiled language, figurative",[1] from ἄλλος (allos), "another, different"[2] + ἀγορεύω (agoreuo), "to harangue, to speak in the assembly"[3] and that from ἀγορά (agora), "assembly".[4]

Types Edit

Northrop Frye discussed what he termed a "continuum of allegory," ranging from what he termed the "naive allegory" of The Faerie Queene, to the more private allegories of modern paradox literature. In this perspective, the characters in a "naive" allegory are not fully three-dimensional, for each aspect of their individual personalities and the events that befall them embodies some moral quality or other abstraction; the allegory has been selected first, and the details merely flesh it out.

Many ancient religions are based on an astrologic allegories, that is, allegories of the movement of the Sun and the Moon as seen from the Earth. Examples include the cult of Horus/Isis.

The classical eraEdit

In classical literature two of the best-known allegories are the cave in Plato's Republic (Book VII) and the story of the stomach and its members in the speech of Menenius Agrippa (Livy ii. 32). In Late Antiquity Martianus Capella organized all the information a fifth-century upper-class male needed to know into an allegory of the wedding of Mercury and Philologia, with the seven liberal arts as guests; Capella's allegory was widely read through the Middle Ages.

Other early allegories are found in the Hebrew Bible, for instance in the extended metaphor in Psalm 80 of the Vine, which is Israel[5] and Ezekiel 16 and 17.[6]

The medieval eraEdit

Main article: Allegory in the Middle Ages

Medieval thinking accepted allegory as having a reality underlying any rhetorical or fictional uses. The allegory was as true as the facts of surface appearances. Thus, the bull Unam Sanctam (1302) presents themes of the unity of Christendom with the pope as its head in which the allegorical details of the metaphors are adduced as actual facts on which is based a demonstration with the vocabulary of logic: "Therefore of this one and only Church there is one body and one head—not two heads as if it were a monster... If, then, the Greeks or others say that they were not committed to the care of Peter and his successors, they necessarily confess that they are not of the sheep of Christ" (complete text).

In the late 15th century, the enigmatic Hypnerotomachia, with its elaborate woodcut illustrations, shows the influence of themed pageants and masques on contemporary allegorical representation, as humanist dialectic conveyed them.

The denial of medieval allegory as found in the 11th-century works of Hugh of St Victor and Edward Topsell's Historie of Foure-footed Beastes (London, 1607, 1653) and its replacement in the study of nature with methods of categorization and mathematics by such figures as naturalist John Ray and the astronomer Galileo is thought to mark the beginnings of early modern science.[7]

The modern eraEdit

Since meaningful stories are nearly always applicable to larger issues, allegories may be read into many stories, sometimes distorting their author's overt meaning. For instance, many people have suggested that The Lord of the Rings is an allegory for the World Wars, in spite of J. R. R. Tolkien's emphatic statement in the introduction to the second edition, "It is neither allegorical nor topical.... I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence." Many have also suggested that the movie "The Dark Knight" is an allegory for the Bush Administration's conduction of the War on Terror (the Dark Knight himself taking on the role of President George W. Bush).

Where some requirements of "realism", in its flexible meanings, are set aside, allegory can come more strongly to the surface, as in the work of Bertold Brecht or Franz Kafka on one hand, or on the other in science fiction and fantasy, where an element of universal application and allegorical overtones are common, as with Dune.

Examples by genreEdit

Not every resonant work of modern fiction is an allegory. Arthur Miller's The Crucible, for instance, is character-driven historical drama with contemporary relevance, but is not an allegory in spite of its parallels with McCarthyism, linking the hunt for communists in the 1940s and 1950s to the hunt for witches in the late 17th century. L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is plot-driven fantasy narrative in an extended fable with talking animals and broadly-sketched characters. J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is another example of a work seen by many as allegorical yet, as the author explained, is not - rather it is an example of what he referred to as applicability.

ArtEdit

Some elaborate and successful specimens of allegory are to be found in the following works, arranged in approximate chronological order:

LiteratureEdit

Classical literature
Mediaeval literature
Modern literature
No good book has ever been written that has in it symbols arrived at beforehand and stuck in. ... [In The Old Man and the Sea], I tried to make a real old man, a real boy, a real sea and a real fish and real sharks. But if I made them good and true enough they would mean many things.

—Ernest Hemingway in 1954[8]

Plays

FilmEdit

Television Edit

Comics Edit

  • Various X-Men comics (mutants as an allegory for various social and racial minorities)
  • The manga Hanako and the Teller of Allegory calls a story given form from peoples' belief in it an allegory
  • The end of every series Grant Morrison writes

See also Edit

Template:Sister

References Edit

NotesEdit

  1. ἀλληγορία, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  2. ἄλλος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  3. ἀγορεύω, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  4. ἀγορά, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus Digital Library
  5. Kennedy, George A. (1999). Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times (Second ed.). UNC Press. p. 142. ISBN 0-8078-4769-0. http://books.google.com/books?id=LHHYx4idyPEC&pg=PA142. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  6. Jones, Alexander, ed (1968). The Jerusalem Bible (Reader's ed.). Doubleday & Company. pp. 1186, 1189. ISBN 0-385-01156-3. 
  7. Peter Harrison, The Bible, Protestantism, and the rise of natural science, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-59196-1, pages 1 to 10 ("Introduction")
  8. "Books: An American Storyteller". Time. December 13, 1954. http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,935439,00.html. Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  9. Roppolo, Joseph Patrick. "Meaning and 'The Masque of the Red Death'", collected in Poe: A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by Robert Regan. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1967. p. 134
  10. Ana's Playground (2009)

External links Edit


This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. (view article). (view authors).
This page uses content from Wikinfo . The original article was at Wikinfo:Allegory.
The list of authors can be seen in the (view authors). page history. The text of this Wikinfo article is available under the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.