Pearl, miniature from Cotton Nero A.x. The Dreamer stands on the other side of the stream from the Pearl-maiden. Pearl is one of the greatest allegories from the High Middle Ages[1]

As a literary device, an allegory is a metaphor in which a character, place or event is used to deliver a broader message about real-world issues and occurrences. Allegory (in the sense of the practice and use of allegorical devices and works) has occurred widely throughout history in all forms of art, largely because it can readily illustrate or convey complex ideas and concepts in ways that are comprehensible or striking to its viewers, readers, or listeners.

Writers or speakers typically use allegories as literary devices or as rhetorical devices that convey (semi-)hidden or complex meanings through symbolic figures, actions, imagery, or events, which together create the moral, spiritual, or political meaning the author wishes to convey.[2]


Salvator Rosa: Allegory of Fortune, representing Fortuna, the goddess of luck, with the horn of plenty
Marco Marcola: Mythological allegory

First attested in English in 1382, the word allegory comes from Latin allegoria, the latinisation of the Greek ἀλληγορία (allegoría), "veiled language, figurative"[3], which in turn comes from both ἄλλος (allos), "another, different"[4] and ἀγορεύω (agoreuo), "to harangue, to speak in the assembly"[5], which originates from ἀγορά (agora), "assembly".[6]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Allegorie
العربية: تمثيل (أدب)
asturianu: Alegoría
azərbaycanca: Alleqoriya
تۆرکجه: آلئقوری
Bân-lâm-gú: Chông-ì
беларуская: Алегорыя
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Алегорыя
български: Алегория
Boarisch: Allegorie
bosanski: Alegorija
brezhoneg: Alegorienn
català: Al·legoria
čeština: Alegorie
Cymraeg: Alegori
dansk: Allegori
Deutsch: Allegorie
eesti: Allegooria
Ελληνικά: Αλληγορία
español: Alegoría
Esperanto: Alegorio
euskara: Alegoria
français: Allégorie
Frysk: Allegory
galego: Alegoría
한국어: 알레고리
hrvatski: Alegorija
Bahasa Indonesia: Alegori
interlingua: Allegoria
íslenska: Táknsaga
italiano: Allegoria
עברית: אלגוריה
ქართული: ალეგორია
қазақша: Аллегорлау
kurdî: Alegorî
Кыргызча: Аллегория
Latina: Allegoria
latviešu: Alegorija
Lëtzebuergesch: Allegorie
lietuvių: Alegorija
Limburgs: Allegorie
magyar: Allegória
македонски: Алегорија
മലയാളം: അന്യാപദേശം
日本語: アレゴリー
norsk: Allegori
norsk nynorsk: Allegori
occitan: Allegoria
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Allegoriya
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਰੂਪਕ-ਕਥਾ
polski: Alegoria
português: Alegoria
română: Alegorie
русский: Аллегория
саха тыла: Аллегория
Seeltersk: Allegorie
shqip: Alegoria
Simple English: Allegory
سنڌي: تمثيل
slovenčina: Inotaj
slovenščina: Alegorija
српски / srpski: Алегорија
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Alegorija
suomi: Allegoria
svenska: Allegori
Türkçe: Alegori
українська: Алегорія
Tiếng Việt: Phúng dụ
ייִדיש: אלעגאריע
中文: 託寓