"Allegory" is a literary, dramatic, or artistic technique wherein characters, events, or elements represent abstract ideas, principles, or concepts, often to convey a message or teach a lesson. Unlike simple symbolism, which typically connects one symbol to one idea, allegories involve layered, symbolic representations throughout a narrative.

In an allegorical work, the surface story or plot can be understood and appreciated on its own. Still, a deeper meaning or message is intended by the creator, which requires interpretation by the reader or viewer.

Examples of Allegory

  • "The Cave" from Plato's "Republic: This allegory represents people as prisoners in a cave, only seeing shadows and thinking that's all reality is. The story illustrates the difference between those who perceive the "shadows" (illusion) and those who see the "outside world" (truth or enlightenment).
  • "Animal Farm" by George Orwell: This novella uses animals on a farm rebelling against their human owner as an allegory for the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalinism.
  • Artistic Representations: Many Renaissance paintings use allegory to represent abstract ideas like love, death, virtue, and wisdom.

Allegories allow authors and artists to convey complex ideas, moral lessons, or criticisms in ways that are more approachable and engaging for their audience.