John Bunyan lays down in a den to sleep. In his sleep, he dreams that he sees a man, named Christian, standing in a field and crying out in pain and sorrow because he and his whole family, as well as the town in which they live, are to be destroyed. Christian knows of this catastrophe because he had read about it in the book—the Bible—that he holds in his hands.
Evangelist, the preacher of Christianity, soon comes up to Christian and presents him with a roll of paper on which it is written that he should flee from the wrath of God and make his way from the City of Destruction to the City of Zion. Running home with this hope of salvation, Christian tries to get his neighbors and family to go away with him, but they do not listen and think he is either sick or mad. Finally, he shuts his ears to his family’s entreaties to stay with them and runs off toward the light in the distance. Under the light, he knows he will find the wicket gate that opens into Heaven.
On his way, Christian meets Pliant and Obstinate; Christian is so distracted by them that he falls in a bog called the Slough of Despond. He cannot get out because of the bundle of sins on his back. Finally, Help comes along and helps Christian out of the sticky mire. Going on his way, he soon falls in with Mr. Worldly Wiseman, who tries to convince Christian that he could lead a happier life if he gives up his trip toward the light and settles down to the comforts of a burdenless town life. Fearing that Christian is about to be led astray, Evangelist comes up to the two men and quickly shows the errors in Mr. Worldly Wiseman’s arguments.
Soon, Christian arrives at a closed gate where he meets Good-Will, who tells him that if he knocks, the gate will be opened to him. Christian does so. He is invited into the gatekeeper’s house by the Interpreter and learns from him the meaning of many of the Christian mysteries. He is shown pictures of Christ and Passion and Patience; Despair in a cage of iron bars; and a vision of the Day of Judgment, when evil people will be sent to the bottomless pit and good people will be carried up to Heaven. Christian is filled with both hope and fear after having seen these things. Continuing on his journey, he comes to the Holy Cross and the Sepulchre of Christ. There his burden of sins falls off, and he is able to take to the road with renewed vigor.
Soon he meets Sloth, Simple, Presumption, Formalism, and Hypocrisy, but he keeps to his way and they keep to theirs. Later, Christian lies down to sleep for a while. When he continues on again, he forgets to pick up the roll of paper Evangelist had given him. Remembering it later, he runs back to find it. Running to make up the time lost, he suddenly finds himself confronted by two lions. He is afraid to pass by them until the porter of the house by the side of...
(The entire section is 1162 words.)