The term ‘allegory’ is derivative from the Greek term allēgore, which means speaking in a way when words have inner meaning. In other words, an allegory is a representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition, 2011). An allegory involves characters and events that symbolize an abstract idea or an event.
It is used to make a story multidimensional, to portray characters and things in a wider meaning than they originally have. An author can tell the reader what is on his/her mind and explain the way they see the world described in his/her work.
C. S. Lewis was a well-known novelist, literary critic, theologian, and Christian apologist. He is mostly known for his series, The Chronicles of Narnia, originally written as children’s books. One of his goals was to open readers’ minds and hearts to God by using the picturesque images and metaphors. Even though some readers may not agree with the given allegories, the author himself has stated that all of these stories tell of Jesus Christ, the world’s Savior (Lewis, 1961).
The confrontation between good and evil is best described in the book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, where four children – Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy – discover Narnia, a land created by a Great Lion, Aslan.
According to an old prophecy, the four sons and daughters of Adam and Eve are supposed to free Narnia from the vicious White Witch’s spell. But Edmund, the first of the kids to encounter the Witch, gets treated with a Turkish delight and makes a bad break about his siblings coming along. This creates a parallel to Judas who once betrayed Jesus, and to Eve who got tempted by a serpent. Yet, unlike Eve, Edmund is not expelled from Narnia and instead stays captive at the Witch’s castle.
After being saved by Aslan who sacrificed his life to the Witch, Edmund still feels bad for betraying his family, so participates in a final battle against the Witch and her army. Defeated, the Witch still manages to find a way to return years later, in another book, Prince Caspian: The return to Narnia. This time, she tries to convince both Peter and Caspian to side with her, yet Edmund shows up and destroys the Witch one final time.
Though it is shown as a violent act, it is still an allegory to repentance and salvation. No matter how people have sinned in the past, if they stand up against the evil, if they sincerely wish to atone for their sins, they will be forgiven in the end.
(2011). American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
C. S. Lewis (1961). A letter to Ann Jenkins. Cambridge, England.
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