An allegory is a work that's designed to be a metaphor for something else. Just about every character is meant to be a representation of some group or concept
, and their interactions in the work are meant to convey ideas about how these groups/concepts affect each other in real life. The story may say
"Alice and Bob had tea together", but in actuality, Alice represents Capitalism, Bob represents Communism, and the "tea" is actually a meeting of the UN. Expect Rule of Symbolism
to come into play in these stories.
Perhaps the most famous example is Pilgrim's Progress
, a Christian allegory in which the protagonist (named Christian
) leaves his old life to go on a journey to the Celestial City
, overcoming many obstacles along the way. Not all allegories are this Anvilicious
, however. Some are very subtle, to the point where you don't even realize
the story is an allegory until someone points it out to you. This is why so many readers get to thinking that Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory
World of Symbolism
is a Sub-Trope
in which the Allegory only
makes sense on the metaphorical level
and not the literal one
is a Sub-Trope
in which the plot is an allegory for another work of fiction.
Compare Does This Remind You of Anything?
, which is when a story has meanings beyond
with the author intended.
Likewise, Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory
is when the reader sees meanings that aren't really there. See Also Metaphorgotten
, when the story (or reader) loses track of what it was talking about.
- Tales Of The Black Freighter, the Story Within A Story in Watchmen: a tragic little pirate story about a man who gets so paranoid about pirates attacking his home town, that he goes crazy and ends up killing everyone himself, interesting in its own right, and then you realize that It's a metaphor for the villain's plan to "save the world" by murdering thousands, and further hints that his plan is totally in vain.
- Scott Pilgrim is one big allegory for growing up, taking responsibility for your mistakes, and learning something from them instead of pretending they never happened.
- The 1954 film Gojira was made as an allegory about the horrors of the atomic bomb.
- Monsters2010 as an allegory for the U.S. - Mexican border regime.
- Much of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy is an allegory for the Nazi rise to power, Chancellor Palpatine being Hitler and Obi-Wan and Anakin the Goerring brothers, with the latter also representing all Germans. Senator Amidala was representative of democracy, and possibly the extermination of Jews, though the actress' family history is probably a coincidence. There is also the Stormtroopers being, in both cases, first brought in by the Chancellor for the Republic and then used as his personal army. The Separatists may also be representative of the Real Life Spartacists. This is one of many evidence articles on the internet for this.
- In Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, Anakin is meant to be representative of Christ.
- It's also been suggested that the entire Star Wars series is an allegorical history of the 20th century. The first three films represent the first half - Episode I represents the First World War, Episodes II and III the Second World War, and the Original Trilogy the Cold War. The Jedi and the Empire/Republic represent the Americans and Russians, though which way round they are depends on your point of view.
Religion and Mythology
- Animal Farm - animals oust the human farmer and take over the running of the farm, as an allegory for the rise and corruption of Communism in the USSR.
- Battle Royale is considered an allegory about humans ( Not just teens) and what they're willing to do in order to survive.
- The Chronicles of Narnia - for Christianity (according to Word of God, Aslan literally is Jesus), and the battle against evil.
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe re-enacts the crucifixion story with Jadis the White Witch as Satan, Aslan as Jesus (of course), and Edmund as the unsaved sinner in need of redemption. Lucy and Susan also fill in for the Marys who attend Christ's death and burial.
- In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace's transformation back from a dragon, and subsequent reform of character, is an allegory for the conversion of St. Paul.
- The Last Battle is an almost 1:1 retelling of the Second Coming, complete with a false Aslan and his "prophet", a massive war, and everyone going to heaven at the end.
- Hinds Feet On High Places - for the process of converting to Christianity
- Pilgrim's Progress - for the process of converting to Christianity
- Lord of the Flies for war and its causes, the island acting as a microcosm for the World at the time.
- The Divine Comedy. The trip through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven is also a trip through the human mind.
- Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene is an allegory of virtues. It also has an interwoven political allegory.
- Dr. Seuss is on record for saying that his story "The Sneetches" is an allegory for anti-semitism.
- Christ's parables in The Bible were this. He himself even provides the literal interpretation of the Parable of the Sower.