The Pilgrim's Progress

938 Words4 Pages
The Pilgrim's Progress The author of The Pilgrim's Progress is well described by Coleridge's remark: "His piety was baffled by his genius; and Bunyan the dreamer overcame the Bunyan of the conventicle." This remark points out the difficulty that Bunyan faces when he attempts to write a religious piece of work in the style of allegory. The Pilgrim's Progress is "pious" because it is a piece written in dedication to God. It contains important religious teachings -- what a good Christian should do and what he should not do. What Coleridge means by Bunyan's "genius" is basically the story itself. The story is so well written that people become so interested in the story and forget the whole spiritual truth behind and this worry Bunyan. Coleridge also indicates in his remarks, the tension between "piety" and "dreaming". "Dreaming", as we know is unreal, and it can hardly be connected with "piety". But Bunyan, through his "genius", not only managed to bring these two things together, but in way that would be satisfiable to all. The Pilgrim's Progress is a Puritan story, and Bunyan chose to tell it in the form of an allegory. The characters, the objects and the events are presented in a symbolic way, so that the story conveys a deeper meaning that the actual incident described. A moral lesson is being taught here. The mixture of religious context and dialogue makes it more like a morality play (miracle play) which was very popular at Bunyan's time. The story is written in ordinary prose, the language is simple, colloquial and down-to-earth. This appeals to readers of the lower class, who are poor and not highly educated. Bunyan made an apology at the beginning of his book. He apologized for the fact that all he had wanted was... ... middle of paper ... ...ry. He asks them not to become too interested in the outside (the writings, the figures) but the inside (the whole spiritual truth). We, as the readers, have to keep in mind that Bunyan is not writing this book for sheer literary enjoyment, he is not in any way, a man of commerce. He is after all a preacher and his sole aim is to get people into understanding the whole spiritual truth behind his allegory. Still we cannot deny the fact Bunyan has done a great job, and that his "piety" is likely to be undermined. His book has become one of the greatest literary works of our times and this is because of his "genius". And so Coleridge is right in his remarks: "His piety was baffled by his genius; and Bunyan the dreamer overcame the Bunyan of the conventicle." Bibliography: Bunyan, John. The Pilgrim's Progress Toronto: Penguin Books, 1965; 1987.
Open Document