Allegory Definition: an extended narrative in which the characters, setting, and plot represent both a concrete meaning and a symbolic meaning

Start My Free Trial
Allegory comes from the Greek and Latin term, allegoria, which means “speaking otherwise”, or “veiled language”. An allegory has two meanings: a literal meaning, and a figurative, often symbolic, meaning. Allegories are a common way for an author to address a real-life event, political climate, or person in a way that holds a deeper meaning. The purpose of an allegory is to criticize, satirize, politicize, or instruct on a moral or religious matter. The main characters are often personified animals or abstract concepts, such as Death and Love. Traditionally, allegories are split into three categories: moral allegory, political allegory, and religious allegory. A moral allegory, like Edgar Allan Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death”, addresses an ethical question about the rich using their wealth to try to cheat death. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller, Miller takes aim at the blacklisting and senate hearings against suspected Communists in the McCarthy era in the 1940s and 1950s, likening it to the “witch hunts” of Salem. In religious allegories like Dante’s Inferno, a symbolic journey into Hell is undertaken by the main character (Dante himself) in order to better understand his own relationship with God and to purify himself of sin. Allegories can also be found in artwork, where symbols are depicted to represent deeper meanings throughout the painting. This was especially popular in the Medieval and Renaissance eras for religious purposes.

Notable Examples of Allegory in Literature

Religious Allegory

Be sure to check out our article, "Allegory"!
© 2018 - Clever Prototypes, LLC - All rights reserved.

What is Storyboard That?

Learn more by choosing below:

I'm a...


Create a Storyboard

Help Share Storyboard That!

Looking for More?

Check out the rest of our Teacher Guides and Lesson Plans!

All Teacher Guides and Lesson Plans Ed Tech BlogElementary SchoolMiddle School ELAHigh School ELAForeign LanguageSpecial EdUS History and Social StudiesWorld History

Our Posters on ZazzleOur Lessons on Teachers Pay Teachers
Explore Our Articles and Examples

Try Our Other Websites!

Photos for Class – Search for School-Safe, Creative Commons Photos (It Even Cites for You!)
Quick Rubric – Easily Make and Share Great-Looking Rubrics
abcBABYart – Create Custom Nursery Art
Prefer a different language?

•   (English) Allegory   •   (Español) Alegoría   •   (Français) Allégorie   •   (Deutsch) Allegorie   •   (Italiana) Allegoria   •   (Nederlands) Allegorie   •   (Português) Alegoria   •   (עברית) אַלֵגוֹרִיָה   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) رمز   •   (हिन्दी) रूपक   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Аллегория   •   (Dansk) Allegori   •   (Svenska) Allegori   •   (Suomi) Allegoria   •   (Norsk) Allegori   •   (Türkçe) Alegori   •   (Polski) Alegoria   •   (Româna) Alegorie   •   (Ceština) Alegorie   •   (Slovenský) Alegória   •   (Magyar) Allegória   •   (Hrvatski) Alegorija   •   (български) Алегория   •   (Lietuvos) Alegorija   •   (Slovenščina) Allegory   •   (Latvijas) Allegorija   •   (eesti) Allegooria