a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.
a symbolical narrative: the allegory of Piers Plowman.
(def 3).
Contemporary Examples

The painting is at the Metropolitan Museum, which considers it an allegory of the sense of sight.
Juan Do Paints a Puzzle Picture Blake Gopnik January 2, 2013

They are, after all, carefully selected “types,” and to isolate them runs the risk of seeing the book as an allegory.
Albert Camus, Our Existential Epidemiologist Malcolm Jones October 16, 2014

This simple fact is an allegory for the fundamental tension of our modern world.
Mark Pagel in ‘Wired for Culture’ Makes a Strong Case for Cultural Determinism Casey Schwartz March 3, 2012

A “Crime of the Century” that takes on mythic dimensions as an allegory of a city in decline.
The Myth of the Central Park Five Edward Conlon October 18, 2014

The Weinstein Company has shown Inglourious Basterds to the Anti-Defamation League, which endorsed the film as “an allegory.”
My Father, The Inglourious Basterd Kim Masters August 8, 2009

Historical Examples

This allegory has been a favourite one with many deep and lofty thinkers.
Discipline Charles Kingsley

The allegory is the life of its author cast in an imaginative form.
Bunyan James Anthony Froude

When “Robinson Crusoe” had attained celebrity, Defoe claimed that it was an allegory of his own life.
A History of English Prose Fiction Bayard Tuckerman

The composite animal in Book IX is an allegory of the parts of the soul.
The Republic Plato

The allegory is a striking one, and perfectly comprehensible to the student of comparative religion.
Simon Magus George Robert Stow Mead

noun (pl) -ries
a poem, play, picture, etc, in which the apparent meaning of the characters and events is used to symbolize a deeper moral or spiritual meaning
the technique or genre that this represents
use of such symbolism to illustrate truth or a moral
anything used as a symbol or emblem

late 14c., from Old French allegorie (12c.), from Latin allegoria, from Greek allegoria “figurative language, description of one thing under the image of another,” literally “a speaking about something else,” from allos “another, different” (see alias) + agoreuein “speak openly, speak in the assembly,” from agora “assembly” (see agora).
allegory [(al-uh-gawr-ee)]

A story that has a deeper or more general meaning in addition to its surface meaning. Allegories are composed of several symbols or metaphors. For example, in The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan, the character named Christian struggles to escape from a bog or swamp. The story of his difficulty is a symbol of the difficulty of leading a good life in the “bog” of this world. The “bog” is a metaphor or symbol of life’s hardships and distractions. Similarly, when Christian loses a heavy pack that he has been carrying on his back, this symbolizes his freedom from the weight of sin that he has been carrying.

used only in Gal. 4:24, where the apostle refers to the history of Isaac the free-born, and Ishmael the slave-born, and makes use of it allegorically. Every parable is an allegory. Nathan (2 Sam. 12:1-4) addresses David in an allegorical narrative. In the eightieth Psalm there is a beautiful allegory: “Thou broughtest a vine out of Egypt,” etc. In Eccl. 12:2-6, there is a striking allegorical description of old age.

Read Also:

  • Allegorize

    to make into an ; narrate . to understand in an sense; interpret . to use . Historical Examples To allegorize life with a masquerade, and represent mankind generally as masquers. The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 18, No. 109, November, 1866 Various To this vessel the Persian poets often refer, and allegorize it in different ways. […]

  • Allegorist

    a person who uses or writes allegory. Historical Examples To the allegorist, the fable or plot in epic or dramatic poetry was only a rind to cover attractively the kernel of truth. Rhetoric and Poetry in the Renaissance Donald Lemen Clark Such a story tempts the allegorist, and indeed the main drift of its meaning […]

  • Allegoristic

    writing or using allegory; interpreting in an allegorical sense.

  • Allegorization

    to make into an ; narrate . to understand in an sense; interpret . to use . verb to transform (a story, narrative, fable, etc) into or compose in the form of allegory (transitive) to interpret allegorically

  • Allegra

    a female given name. Contemporary Examples Yet those fears were borne out when, at the age of five, Allegra died of typhus. The Man Who Invented Vampires and the Creepiest Literary Gathering Ever Emma Garman November 23, 2013 The Cookbook Collectorby Allegra Goodman A novel about greed—and money—during the dot-com boom. This Week’s Hot Reads […]

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