Wednesday, September 19, 2012


The dictionary defines an allegory as a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another. (1)

In an allegory the idea is expressed using symbolic figures, actions or words.

It takes its origin from around the year 1350 Originally ‘allegorie’ from the Latin allēgoria or Greek allēgoría.  It is a derivative of allēgoreîn ‘to speak so as to imply something other’.

The Pilgrim's Progress (2), by John Bunyan, is a famous allegorical book.
In it the character named Christian struggles to escape from a bog or swamp. The story of his difficulty is an allusion to the difficulty of leading a good life in the “bog” of this world. The “bog” is a metaphor or symbol of life's hardships and distractions. Similarly, when Christian loses a heavy pack that he has been carrying on his back, this symbolizes his freedom from the weight of sin that he has been carrying.
Pilgrim's Progress


  1. Allegory. [Online] [Cited: Sept 19, 2012.]
  2. Bunyan, John. The pilgrim's progress. s.l. : John Murray, 1839.

Photo credits:

  1. "Allegory": jaci XIII via photo pin cc
  2. "Pilgrim's Progress": failing_angel via photo pin cc