Definition of allegory
1 : the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence a writer known for his use of allegory; also : an instance (as in a story or painting) of such expression The poem is an allegory of love and jealousy.
2 : a symbolic representation : emblem 2
Examples of allegory in a sentence
Luther dismissed this mystical reading of the creative act as mere “allegory.” But for Augustine the six days are not just a rhetorical trope. They are unlike the figurative language of the curse on the snake. To say that Christ is a shepherd is a metaphor; but to say that he is light is literal, since physical light is a “shadow” of the real light spoken of in Genesis. —Garry Wills, Under God, 1990
The Scarlet Letter is his masterpiece, because of the simplicity of its allegory and the grandeur of its colonial, Jacobean setting—and because of its shocking subject so nervously handled. Hester and Dimmesdale are sacred and profane love, subjects for Titian, yet conventionally clothed. —Robert Lowell, Collected Prose, 1987
He saw thousands of Buddhas lined up in trays in the tourist shops … some in lead, some in wood, some carved in stone and dressed in a little knitted caps and capes. He came to see in this ubiquitous phenomenon the Buddha's godlike propensity for self-division, the endless fractioning of himself into every perceivable aspect, an allegory made by the people of Japan from the cellular process of life. —E. L. Doctorow, Loon Lake, 1979
ALLEGORY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of allegory for English Language Learners
: a story in which the characters and events are symbols that stand for ideas about human life or for a political or historical situation
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