Allegory In J. S The Pilgrim's Progress And The Inferno

analytical Essay
1182 words
1182 words

“In the simplest terms, allegory says one thing and means another” (Fletcher 2). Allegory is a literary tool that authors employ to convey a certain message or idea through characters acting in a story. Angus Fletcher correctly assesses the nature of allegory, demonstrating that although an author may write a story about a man completing a literal journey, he very well could be implying a much grander idea about journeying through life. Anne Page shares a similar understanding of allegory, writing that, “Allegory, whether engaged in as reading or writing, is about making meaning- a meaning which is ideological, ethical, or theological” (Page 82). Jesus himself used allegory in his parables, to make grand heavenly concepts accessible to the everyman. This is a common use of allegory, bringing the grand scheme down to an understandable level. “The creative allegory uses a highly generalized form to cover a width of historical content which is felt to burst the bounds of any more naturalistic method” (Lindsay 177). Two examples of allegory are John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress and Dante’s The Inferno. Both tell the story of a man taking a journey, Christian on his way to heaven and Dante through hell. The use of allegory in each of these works is vast; one of the most obvious is that of names. Dante and Bunyan use naming as one of their most noticeable ways to communicate grand concepts; however, the ways in which they employ this type of allegory differ immensely.
“The heroes in Dante… and Bunyan seem to create the worlds about them. They are like those people in real life who ‘project,’ ascribing fictitious personalities to those whom they meet and live with” (Fletcher 35). Dante and Bunyan’s characters, through their names, c...

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...pict some aspect of their future character. The most striking example of naming in the Bible is the name of Jesus or Immanuel, which means God with us. Authors also use naming to direct readers’ attention to a certain aspect of that character. They often use this tactic in allegory, saying one thing and meaning another. When they name a character they imply more than just a name to recognize them by. They mean to expose the character’s behavior or struggles. Dante and Bunyan both use this tactic in their works, The Inferno and The Pilgrim’s Progress. Dante names his characters after specific historical figures which readers in his day would recognize and attribute attributes to them. Bunyan names his characters after their attributes themselves. Each approach has benefits and weaknesses, but both are effective examples of the use of naming in allegorical writing.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how angus fletcher correctly assesses the nature of allegory, and anne page shares a similar understanding of it.
  • Analyzes how dante and bunyan's characters, through their names, convey the ideas behind the books.
  • Analyzes how dante's naming of characters in the inferno is an instantly recognizable use of allegory. his characters are historical figures but through their names apply the punishments to all who share the same vices.
  • Analyzes the striking use of naming in the inferno. the character of dante travels through the levels of hell, sympathetic to the sufferings of the punished sinners but gradually relishing in justice.
  • Analyzes bunyan's use of allegory to give a direct glimpse into characters' behavior and attributes. mr. worldly wiseman stands for the cares of this world tempting christians to abandon the path of righteousness.
  • Analyzes how bunyan's naming structure is effective in that no matter how many years pass, readers instantly know about the nature of the characters from their names.
  • Explains that names have always been a significant aspect of culture. in the bible, god has parents name children names that depict some aspects of their future character. authors use naming to expose the character’s behavior or struggles.
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