What does the abbey symbolize?
According to critic H.H. Bell, Jr., the abbey symbolizes a man's life, with the seven chambers within each symbolizing a decade in that life. The first chamber is on the east side of the abbey, signifying birth and the rising of the sun. The last chamber is on the west side, signifying death and the sun's setting.
There is more interesting information on the symbolism of the abbey and its chambers at the link below.
check Approved by eNotes Editorial