Allegory is a philosophical, artistic and literary concept that consists in the representation of a symbolic meaning. The word allegory is of Latin origin allegory, which translates into speaking figuratively.
As literary figure, allegory is a rhetorical device showing an enlarged metaphor, and in some cases similar to the embodiment or prosopopeya. The allegory consists in leaving aside the denotative sense of the word and putting into practice the figurative meaning of the word , that is, it represents an idea or concept through allusive or metaphorical images, implying something different from what is being expressing
In this sense, the allegory can represent various meanings that transcend its literal meaning, so that it uses symbols to represent one thing or idea through the appearance of another. For example: justice is represented with a blindfolded woman, carrying a scale and 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, by 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.
Allegory of Plato’s Cave
The allegory or myth of Plato’s cave focused on describing a cavern 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 carrying everything type of objects that, thanks to the fire, cast shadows on the wall that were considered true by the prisoners, who did not have the light’s clarity.
One of the prisoners frees himself from the chains and goes out into the outside world knowing the reality. When the free man returns to the cave to free his prisoner friends, nobody listens to him and they condemn him to death. With this allegory, it is possible to observe the importance of seeking the truth through the knowledge of other realities, on the other hand, Plato reflects the teaching of Socrates by affirming 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 salt loses its flavor, what will it be like? It is no longer good for anything, but to throw it out and for men to step on it “(Matthew 5: 13).
Taking into account the concept of allegory, the biblical verse can be interpreted as the relationship between the disciples and others and their importance to the community. In this sense, salt is interpreted as a positive aspect that prevents evil and drives away the community 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, friendly individual as well as for the cruel and false friend.
Autumn song in spring
- “In his arms he took my reverie / and lulled him like a baby … / and killed him, sad and small, / lack of light, lack of faith …”
- “Another judged that it was my mouth / the case of his passion / and that he would rob me, crazy, with his teeth the heart.”
Under these two examples, a situation of love-disappointment lived with the past, with old loves, described by an allegory, explained from a mature age that misses the past and its experiences is described.