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what does allegory mean?

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#1 Carlfloydfan


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Posted December 07 2006 - 12:34 AM

I have to write about the allegorical nature of an angel in a book I read for a class. I guess I am just unsure on how to apply this term.

and can you maybe give some concrete examples on how to apply the concept? I am just not sure where to even start!


#2 indian~summer


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Posted December 07 2006 - 12:44 AM

um aside from searching online...from my memory, and trying to explain it good...it's kinda of like a story, fable, parable...like an analogy but not really based on actual events... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory here's wikipedia's definition of it...

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#3 DQ Veg

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Posted December 07 2006 - 12:48 AM

Well, an allegory is something that is really symbolic of something else. In other words, the angel can be representative of something else, something that it doesn't appear to be on the surface.
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#4 Dimensionality



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Posted December 07 2006 - 04:30 AM

First, figure out the attributes of angels and then think of something else with similar attributes. Finally, design a story around the something else and throw in some visual descriptive terms which could relate to both the angels and the something elses. I'm not real good at explaining things like that. But I tried.
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#5 sentient


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Posted December 07 2006 - 06:06 AM

all o the following is from


Modern allegories in fiction tend to operate under constraints of modern requirements for verisimilitude within conventional expectations of realism. Works of fiction with strong allegorical overtones include:

An allegory (from Greek αλλος, , "other", and αγορευειν, agoreuein, "to speak in public") is a figurative mode of representation conveying a meaning other than the literal.

Allegory is generally treated as a figure of rhetoric, but an allegory does not have to be expressed in language: it may be addressed to the eye, and is often found in realistic painting, sculpture or some other form of mimetic, or representative art.

The etymological meaning of the word is broader than the common use of the word. Though it is similar to other rhetorical comparisons, an allegory is sustained longer and more fully in its details than a metaphor, and appeals to imagination, while an analogy appeals to reason or logic. The fable or parable is a short allegory with one definite moral.

Since meaningful stories are nearly always applicable to larger issues, allegories may be read into many stories, sometimes distorting their author's overt meaning. For instance, many people have suggested that The Lord of the Rings was an allegory for the World Wars, in spite of the fact that it was well under way before the outbreak of World War II and J.R.R. Tolkien's emphatic statement in the introduction to the American edition ""It is neither allegorical nor topical....I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence."

Northrop Frye discussed what he termed a "continuum of allegory", ranging from what he termed the "naive allegory" of The Faerie Queen, to the more private allegories of modern paradox literature. In this perspective, the characters in a "naive" allegory are not fully three-dimensional, for each aspect of their individual personalities and the events that befall them embodies some moral quality or other abstraction; the allegory has been selected first, and the details merely flesh it out.

#6 White Scorpion

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Posted December 07 2006 - 09:44 AM

This may seem a simple debate. To the average English language student looking into the thread I can almost hear an over-riding, dissmissive snort over the simplicity of the question, and even the academic with a half-interest in the vast dimensions of grammar will shrug his shoulder and ask, "Well, why doesn't he open a dictionary?"

And THAT is where most people are wrong.

Dictionaries make things easy. Don't they? And like most things that make things easy, they have done so for a reason... to keep YOU in check. To keep your mind's imaginative powers within a box, which they can flush down the toilet whenever they feel like.

Dictionaries, lexicons and their offspring, that evil hellspawn known as thesaurus are tools of convention and while they pretend to assist in communication, in reality they are turning you into a duracell battery.

So, what IS an allegory if I can't look in the dictionary?

The answer, my friend, couldn't be simpler.

The dictionary does of course tell us that the word stems from the Greek. It would do that, wouldn't it? Those professors don't have a clue where half the words come from so they allocate them to the Greeks. For example:

"Professor Dickby, where does the word crucible come from?"

"Oh! Err... I'm not sure. Is it Greek? Yes, I believe it is. That's setlled then. It's named after the first three letters of the crucifix, followed by the name of Basil Fawlty's wife, who was Greek, in a past lifetime."

This whole semi-conspiracy was developed in the Victorian era after a drunken brawl one night between Cambridge and Oxford dons, and the rivalry has remained since.

So, that still doesn't answer what the word 'allegory' means?

For that, we have to travel back all the way to the Founding Fathers, and a settler galley that was blown off course by the strong winds. They landed somewhere in Florida and within a generation they had worked their way to the Everglades.

It was while they were there that a lot of them disappeared during hunting trips. It was when they found the half digested remains of their fellow villagers that they were so disgusted that they wondered what kind of creature could have done this. Whilst they thought that, a huge alligator sprung from the undegrowth and swallowed one of the women whole. Everyone was so shocked that they shouted: "Shit" Did you see that? He ate her whole!" Only, because they were shitting bricks the words came out: "All he ate her!" By the time the story had reached the village "All he ate her!" had become "All-he-gate-er" and eventually, "Alligator!" (That is why if someone knew how to PUMP words this wouldn't have happened).

Anyway, the whole experience was so shocking that the word ALLEGORY was invented after ALLIGATOR and GORY. Ergo, in actual fact, it is an AMERICAN word, but the government doesn't want YOU to know that. And the full meaning of the word is to describe a situation that is ultimately ghastly and horrific.

If we were going to write an allegorical story about an angel, it could go something like this:

Once upon a time there was an angel who was coming home from work. He was talking on his mobile to God about a football match and whilst he did that he was being eyed by some hoodies. The hoodies followed the angel until he entered a dark alley. Then they tried to mug him for his phone.

At that point, the angel said that he had something better than a phone to give them. The eyes of the hungry muggers lit up, but when the angel opened up a case, he brought out a Kalashnikov.

Before the hoodlums could flee, the angel opened fire and in his frenzy his blood lust wasn't satiated until he had emptied two cartridges in each body. Then he flew up into the air laughing his ass off.

When the police arrived at the scene of the crime, 3 days later, the stiffs were so unrecognizable that they threw up and the ALLEGORY scene left a scar for life in their mind.

The End

#7 sentient


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Posted December 07 2006 - 12:48 PM

Does anyone know wht the shakespeare play is where
some people from a theatre group play a trick on a poor man and make him feel like a
king or a lord and they put on a play for him while he is drunk then convince him he really is a high born royal? when he wakes up he tinks its all a dream?

anyway I believe that play is allegorical

I was in the pub with a guy called Ali Gorical a few weeks ago and it was enlightening

#8 White Scorpion

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Posted December 07 2006 - 03:48 PM

I wasn't sure whether I saw you in the pub with 'Ali G or I call' ed you, but you didn't hear me. Perhaps it was Allegra, but I know that I saw you get into a white Austin Allegro and, like the devil, you were gone as if you never existed.

#9 sentient


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Posted December 07 2006 - 04:19 PM

OMFG do you remember those Austin Allegro's they were like a sardine tin on wheels

#10 White Scorpion

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Posted December 07 2006 - 05:20 PM

Your name's not Jeremy Clarkson by any chance? He hates Allegros as well.
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Find out more about this family classic Austin Allegro

#11 sentient


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Posted December 07 2006 - 05:56 PM

My dad had one (we werent a very well off family othjerwise we would have chosen a Bentley)
in that photo is a woman squattin for a piss at the back of the car ?


#12 White Scorpion

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Posted December 07 2006 - 06:03 PM

I think she's seen the car and mistaken it for a toilet.