Allegory

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Allegory is a figurative mode of representation conveying meaning other than the literal. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation. 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. Simply put, an allegory is a device used to present an idea, principle or meaning, which can be presented in literary form, such as a poem or novel, or in visual form, such as in painting or sculpture. As a literary device, an allegory in its most general sense is an extended metaphor. As an artistic device, an allegory is a visual symbolic representation. An example of a simple visual allegory is the image of the grim reaper. Viewers understand that the image of the grim reaper is a symbolic representation of death. Nevertheless, images and fictions with several possible interpretations are not allegories in the true sense. Furthermore, not every fiction with general application is an allegory.

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Etymology

First coined in English 1382, the word "allegory" comes from Latin "allegoria", the latinisation of the Greek "ἀλληγορία" (allegoria), "veiled language, figurative",[1] from "ἄλλος" (allos), "another, different"[2] + "ἀγορεύω" (agoreuo), "to harangue, to speak in the assembly"[3] and that from "ἀγορά" (agora), "assembly".[4]

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