Allegory vs Analogy – What’s the difference?

Allegory and analogy are both literary devices and figures of speech that are commonly used in poetry, narrative, and creative writings to describe an abstract idea. These literary devices are basically used to make a point more comprehensive and vivid.

People often confuse between allegory and analogy. While both of them are figures of speech that try to construct rhetorical comparisons, it is important to examine their meanings and usage. They can both be used in different ways.

List of Homophones | Homophones Exa...
List of Homophones | Homophones Examples

Let us discuss them in detail to get a better understanding.

Allegory vs Analogy – Difference

Figures of speech in English grammar are used for comparisons or constructions that do not stand literally true and are to be understood in a figurative sense. They are often used for illustrating ideas and concepts that are abstract in nature. While allegory and analogy may seem similar, they are not the same.

Allegory

Allegory is a type of literary device that is a bit more comprehensive than analogy. Allegory is used to represent an abstract idea with characters or figures. It can also be defined as a long narrative that tries to make a point or lesson vividly by using a story. In short, it can be a story, image, or poem that tries to comprehend and illustrate an abstract idea.

Allegory is a symbolic and imagery demonstration of a hidden meaning. For instance, one poem can be an allegory of love and jealousy, or a story with animals that characterizes human behavior can be an allegory. Some prominent examples are;

  • The Biblical story of Adam and Eve
  • The story of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • Aesop’s Fables

Allageroies try to describe or compare something on a deeper note conveying something that is not literally true but has a hidden point.

Analogy

On the other hand, analogy is a bit simpler. An analogy is basically a comparison made to describe that something is something else. It is also a type of figure of speech and expresses a construction in a figurative sense. It takes the similarities between two things, compares them, and uses them to make a point and comprehend it further.

For example;

  • A lion is to deer as a cat is to rats.
  • Chasing a cheetah is as useless as picking a fight with the wall.
  • Sleeping under the sun is like living inside an oven.

We see an analogy makes a comparison to give an explanation or make a point out of it. An analogy is not developed in a deeper note like an allegory, but they are popular in poems.

Remember the Difference between Allegory and Analogy

  • An allegory is an extended metaphor. It uses a comparison or construction to illustrate an abstract idea.
  • An analogy is simply comparing something and stating that one thing is like another.
  • An allegory can be a short comparison or a long narrative that aims at conveying a hidden meaning. And here, all the elements are developed, and they represent something.
  • An analogy is usually a situation, and it does not necessarily develop all the elements.

So we see, both the words allegory and analogy are literary devices used extensively in poetic and narrative verses. Both are figurative in nature but there lie some differences that serve a distinct purpose to each.

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