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allegory (noun) a fable, a novel, or a play, in which the characters are the good and bad qualities of human beings.

The intention of an allegory is usually to convey a message or a moral, by using human qualities as characters. John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, which traces the progress of the soul towards salvation in the form of the journey of a man called Christian to the Celestial City is an example of an allegory. There are political allegories too, in which a political ideology may be attacked or upheld. An allegory aims at presenting ideas by means of symbols.

  • The English Drama of Queen Elizabeth's time evolved from mysteries and morality plays, which, staged by the church, were allegories seeking to preach morals to the people.
  • Allegories have always a moral purpose and are intended to teach or to expose the truth. That is why the characters in them bear the names of human virtues and failings.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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