Miner, Earl, ed. Selected Poetry and Prose of John Dryden.
New York: The Modern Library, 1985.
ALLEGoRY Allegory adopts tropes, most commonly figurative language, to suggest a symbolic meaning supporting a work's literal meaning. A literal sequence in narrative allegory may correspond to psychological, spiritual, moral, or historical occurrences or ideas, usually in an attempt to clarify aspects of human nature or the material world. Although meant to simplify meaning, some poetic allegory is so dense or obscure that readers may be unable to identify its reference. originally popular in mythology, allegory appears in all religious writings. The Middle Ages identified four aspects of meaning in biblical texts. The first was the literal, the second allegorical, the third tropo-logical or moral, and the fourth anagogical. Edmund Spenser's The Fairie Queene (1590, 1596) was a popular Renaissance allegory, and John Milton would later include the allegorical figures of Sin and Death in his epic work about man's fall from grace, Paradise Lost (1667). However, John Dryden's use in The Hind and the Panther (1687) produced a rather distasteful humor, purposely contrived by the poet. Dryden felt his audience needed the occasional absurdity in order to understand references they might find obscure. In his fables of the Swallows and the Pigeons in part 3, readers had to absorb the fabulous suggestion of a Catholic Hind explaining to an Anglican Panther that Catholic Poultry, even though promiscuous, were of higher value than Anglican Pigeons. The use of serious allegory in elevated form dwindled during the 17th century, although it was put to great use in the more traditional religious sense by John Bunyan. His use of allegory in the prose Pilgrim's Progress (1678, 1684) was judged coarse but proved effective for the common reader.
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