Analyze the characterisation in John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress as it relates to presenting moral views.

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Christian is Bunyan, the Christian (Calvinist/Baptist) pilgrim who is:

A.  Born into original sin

B. Goal of salvation

C. Regeneration precedes conversion (spiritual salvation is predetermined)

D. Origins of Pilgrim's Progress: Bunyan's dream-vision

1. Torments (fear of hell): reason for his conversion

2. Allegorical nature: vague meanings, multiple interpretations, intuition

3. Divine inspiration: from God or from subconscious?

E. Mythical Spiritual Journey

1. Begins at awareness of sin (anxiety/anguish)

a. Bunyan's greatest fear was that his faith was inadequate for salvation

b. Calvinist belief in total depravisty/original sin

2. Lost in the wilderness of this world (alienation)

a. Christain must "flee the wrath to come" (Old Testament)

b From City of Destruction (Sodom/Gom.--from Bible)

c. Leave wife/child behind

 

 

Overall, the allegory functions as a Quest:

Christian is the Quester, and Evangelist (bringer of good news [Gospels], New Testament) comes to his aid and tells him to stay on path to Wicket Gate.  The characters are not as important as the goal.  They are left undeveloped (static, stock) so that all the focus is on the journey to heaven.  Bunyan, as you know, was a fiery Calvinist minister who said there is only one path to heaven, and we must deny all earthly possessions (wife, home, children, and friends) in order to achieve it.

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The characters in this work are allegorical, so they represent the themes of the work. Such characters as Christian, Faithful, Hopeful, Mercy, Feeble-mind, Valiant-for-truth, Despondency, Honest, and Stead-fast, Obstinate, Atheist, Prejudice, and Ill-will, Ignorance, Evangelist and Apollyon (the monster that represents Satan) represent the characteristics that their names suggest. In this work, "all who fall short of the glory of God" can reach the Celestial City, but not all will choose to repent and go there. The characters with the negative names are too connected to the earthly world and cannot find salvation.

Since this work is a Christian allegory, I don't see how your question could be asked outside of the current Christian world view. Christian moral values have not changed since Bunyon's time. Christian's still believe that they are all sinners in need of grace and that only by repenting of their sin can they receive salvation.

Moral values outside of Christianity are harder to compare. Certainly most of the world religions value similar morals such as faith, hope, mercy, honesty, etc. Outside of religion, you will have to examine whether or not the society has similar moral values. Do you think our current society values faith? What about mercy? Do we value honesty? Do we have hope? Are we people of integrity? Lots of people think our morals are slowing eroding in this country.

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