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What is an allegory?  

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abruzzi1 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 26, 2013 at 12:42 AM via web

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What is an allegory?

 

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 26, 2013 at 1:08 AM (Answer #1)

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An allegory is an elaborate metaphor in which a character, event, narrative, myth, etc. tells a story that represents something else. For example, Animal Farm is a story about an animal revolution and it is an allegory for the Russian Revolution. In terms of stories, an allegory tells one story but implies another, just as a metaphor describes one thing but implies another. 

Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" in The Republic describes a situation where people are chained together in a cave. They can only face one wall of the cave. Unable to see the people and fire behind them, they only see the shadows on the wall. This is an allegory for the human condition in that there are aspects of reality which we refuse and/or are conditioned not to see. 

Arthur Miller's The Crucible is a play about the Salem Witch Trials but it is also an allegory for McCarthyism. In the 1950s, Senator Joe McCarthy wanted to rid the country of all communist influence and charged people associated with communism as being traitorous. Miller and other writers at that time were brought to these proceedings. 

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abruzzi1 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 26, 2013 at 9:48 AM (Answer #2)

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An allegory is an elaborate metaphor in which a character, event, narrative, myth, etc. tells a story that represents something else. For example, Animal Farm is a story about an animal revolution and it is an allegory for the Russian Revolution. In terms of stories, an allegory tells one story but implies another, just as a metaphor describes one thing but implies another. 

Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" in The Republic describes a situation where people are chained together in a cave. They can only face one wall of the cave. Unable to see the people and fire behind them, they only see the shadows on the wall. This is an allegory for the human condition in that there are aspects of reality which we refuse and/or are conditioned not to see. 

Arthur Miller's The Crucible is a play about the Salem Witch Trials but it is also an allegory for McCarthyism. In the 1950s, Senator Joe McCarthy wanted to rid the country of all communist influence and charged people associated with communism as being traitorous. Miller and other writers at that time were brought to these proceedings. 

Very helpful, thankyou.

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laurto | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted January 29, 2014 at 6:47 PM (Answer #3)

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An allegory is a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

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