An allegory is a representation by which an idea, story or image other than the one that is literally shown initially is expressed.

An allegory expresses an idea different from what is initially represented in a story or image. It is a metaphor and it is very useful to express feelings or ideas in a different way than how it would be done literally.

Types of allegories

Next, we will explain the main types of allegories.

Philosophical allegory

The most famous allegory in philosophy is known as Plato's myth of the cave. In the image in which it is represented, several people are observed at the bottom of a cavern chained and looking towards the wall. In it, shadows are projected with the help of a bonfire, caused by some men who are located behind a wall.

In the story, a man takes off the chains that bind him and tries to get out of the cave, when he comes out, he discovers that it is the real world and not what the men projected in the form of shadows. Later, the escapee goes down to tell what happened to his companions and to free them, but they make fun of him.

What this story tells us, this allegory, is real knowledge. That is to say, the man is comfortable in his ignorance and in his evaluations and opinions even if they are wrong. According to Plato, you have to make a great effort and be constant in your search for knowledge. It is about doubting everything that surrounds us or we take it for granted so that, through study and research, we can find true knowledge.

This is what the allegory is about, through a story or story to form another different from the one told literally.

Allegory in painting

The consecration of Napoleon. It is a painting by Jacques-Louis David in which the coronation ceremony of Napoleon as Emperor is represented.

In the painting, Napoleon wears the laurel wreath on his head, which was that of the ancient Roman emperors. He also holds the crown that he is going to put on his wife. Napoleon does not let the Pope be the one who crowns him, as has traditionally happened with the different French kings. He crowns himself, thus implying that his legitimacy comes from the people and not from the Church or the inheritance of the crown. And that the French state does not depend on the Roman papacy.

The rest of the characters are important figures, but spectators of Napoleon's coronation, thus representing the power he represented over others.

Pablo Picasso's painting of Guernica is also an example of allegory. It is a work that, through the abstract representation of numerous figures, reflects the bombing carried out by the Germans and Italians during the Spanish Civil War of 1936.

The lady of justice

In Greek mythology, Themis is the personification of justice. It is about the figure of a woman with a sword and a scale and blindfolded.

The sword signifies the imperative and obligatory nature of the measures taken by justice. The balance is the symbol of justice, and the blindfold is the objectivity that it must have in the courts, ensuring the equality of citizens before the law.

As we can see, this simple figure or statue of a woman with these characteristics really describes the suitability of modern justice systems.

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