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Definition of "allegory" []

  • The representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form. (noun)
  • A story, picture, or play employing such representation. John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and Herman Melville's Moby Dick are allegories. (noun)
  • A symbolic representation: The blindfolded figure with scales is an allegory of justice. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "allegory" in a sentence
  • "I use the term allegory reluctantly because allegorical figures, like those found in Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress or Spenser's Faerie Queene tend to be one-dimensional, lacking interiority and nuance."
  • "To become figurable-that is to say, visible in the first place, accessible to our imaginations - the classes have to be able to become in some sense characters in their own right: this is the sense in which the term allegory in our title is to be taken as a working hypothesis."
  • "But the allegory is a continued metaphor, in which the circumstances are palpably often purely imagery, while the thing signified is altogether real."