Metaphor vs Allegory
A simple speech or text can be made more powerful and impressive through the use of figures of speech which allow objects to be compared with totally unrelated objects in a manner that makes for an interesting listening or reading. Metaphor and allegory are two such figures of speech that are very similar to each other, which is why people remain confused about their usage and meaning. This article attempts to clear all such doubts by highlighting their meaning and usage.
The beautiful lady had a heart of stone. This is a perfect example of the use of metaphor to make the sentence more impressive and convey the deeper meaning that the writer wishes to convey. Now, heart cannot be stone (it is not possible), yet the use of this figure of speech allows the writer to give an impression that the beautiful lady did not have feelings like a stone. One can see how metaphor allows a writer or speaker to compare two totally different things that are not related in any way.
Allegory is also a figure of speech that is very similar to metaphor in that people and objects are compared with other unrelated things. In fact, it is an extended metaphor where the entire text has characters that become personifications of abstract ideas and human qualities. The story that the writer conveys has two meanings. The superficial one that is what is understood through written words and the other, more subtle meaning that has social and religious tones and a message that is symbolic in nature. In fact allegory makes it possible to covey a meaning totally different from the written text. The word allegory comes from the Greek word allegoria which means veiled language.
What is the difference between Metaphor and Allegory?
• While an allegory is similar in meaning to a metaphor, it is more subtle in nature and can carry on through an entire text unlike metaphor that is limited to a single sentence.
• Allegorical tales are rare to find these days as in these tales, story moves forward at two levels. One is the verbal level while the other is the symbolic level.