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
Recent Examples of allegory from the Web
With shades of Calderón's 17th-century allegory Life Is a Dream, Bekah Brunstetter's 2016 drama follows an avowed atheist couple's spiritual splintering after Roberta (Kathleen Ruhl) receives a stage 4 cancer diagnosis.
Race relations, privilege, poverty, and mental illness were just a few of the subjects the show tackled in recent episodes, and all indications point to the heavy-handed allegory continuing in season five.
For Nolan, the robots on his show represent more of an allegory for human behavior than a cautionary tale.
Extinction seems to be the predominant theme here—a not entirely subtle allegory suggesting how Davis sees an antiquated liquor industry.
But there the yin/yang allegory wasn’t too neat: Both guys were responsible for a romance novel suggesting deep shame for how things had been left with Nora.
One thing is sure as the bereaved Alexandra motors through a foreign country looking to unload her burden of ash and bone: Kostova isn’t afraid of a good allegory.
Too many early mornings and late nights, too much bread and wine, too many ponderous political allegories—in the films and in real life, all the Croisette’s opulence alarmingly guarded by policemen carrying machine guns.
Eleanor Kahn's cavelike set, with six lanterns overhead, suggests Plato's allegory of the cave.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'allegory'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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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