Allegory vs Metaphor: Difference and Comparison

An Allegory is a section of art or fine arts. It can be translated to disclose an invisible explanation. The interpretation can be political or moral.


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The goal of human lives, historical situations, or politics are given out in the story by events and characters.

Allegory represents something more significant than they mean. As such, it can define a story, and its characters have enough depth.

A metaphor is a linguistic feature of a speech. It makes a direct differentiation between two separate things.

Metaphors are slightly different because they don’t use connecting words. The differentiation that a metaphor uses is relevant. It conveys the sense to another.

Key Takeaways

  1. An allegory is an extended narrative or story in which characters, events, or settings represent abstract ideas or concepts. In contrast, a metaphor is a figure of speech that compares two seemingly unrelated things to convey a deeper meaning.
  2. Allegories are more complex and involve an entire work of literature, art, or music to convey a message. In contrast, metaphors are more concise and can be found in a single line or phrase.
  3. Examples of allegory include George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” while examples of metaphors include “time is money” and “the world is a stage.”

Allegory vs Metaphor

An allegory is a story or narrative with a second meaning or interpretation to convey a moral or political message. A metaphor is a figure of speech used to create a vivid image or to express an idea. An allegory is a piece of literature whose characters, events, and images act as symbols, while a metaphor is a literal tool that compares two fixed things.

Allegory vs Metaphor


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonAllegoryMetaphor
FunctionAllegory includes an unseen meaning to the statementA metaphor sets side by side two unconnected things
Use of the poetic instrumentsUsed to represent ideasUsed to represent imagery
The Scope or IdeaThe scope of allegory is extensiveThe concept of a metaphor is limited
Inherent meaningEstablishes a connection between politics and moralityIt has no underlying meaning
ComparisonAllegory differentiation is longer. It also comprises passagesIts comparison is brief. It contains phrases or words
Connection to RealityAllegory connection to reality is moreMetaphor connection to reality is less
TypeAllegory is complicatedMetaphor is straightforward
DefinitionA literature term where separate images, characters, and events act as symbolsA literature phrase that explains the differentiation between two independent things


What is Allegory?

An allegory is a figure of speech. It explains a masked meaning behind every or every piece of literature.

Apart from its ordinary form, allegory is also available in paintings, sculptures, and the like. It gives a comprehensive extension of the narrative. The characters in an allegory relate to several aspects.

Allegory is used when the author is passing a hidden or complex message. In other words, in parable, symbolism is a crucial factor. A writer might use symbols, images, figures, or actions to expose ideas. 

The goal may be historical, political, or human.

A good example of allegory is the apple eaten by Adam and Eve. The apple was used to symbolize a good and bad idea.


What is Metaphor?

A metaphor is a language that creates a literary effect in a speech.  It makes undeclared differentiation between two separate things.

A metaphor defines one thing as the other, unlike a simile states one thing as the other. Still, a metaphor uses an applicable comparison.

A metaphor brings to the limelight some qualities of the character that you may fail to notice. Besides, it gives style to the artwork. As such, a metaphor adds meaning to ordinary things.

An excellent example of a metaphor is the saying, “his life is open.”  You see, the book and life are two different things.

Yet, the book’s openness is compared to his life. This means his life has no secrets.


Main Differences Between Allegory and Metaphor


Allegory is a derivative of Allegoria. Allegoria is a Latin word representing indirect language in the said statement. The metaphor was derived from an Old French analogy. 

Old French metaphor was traced to Latin Metaphora, which means apply in the new situation.


The message or text conveyed by an allegory carries a hidden meaning. For instance, Adam and Eve ate a forbidden apple. A metaphor compares two unrelated things. For instance, life is not a bed of roses.


An allegory is a written work where images, events, and characters stand for something else. Metaphor, on the other hand, is a poetic tool that compares two individual things.

Underlying Meaning

Allegory carries inherent meaning all the time. Require deep research to understand the meaning. Metaphors do not have a hidden meaning. They are somewhat straightforward.

Connectivity to real-life

Allegory is closer to reality. Metaphors do not need to relate to reality.


An allegory is also an extended metaphor. It is why its scope is more extensive than that of a metaphor. A metaphor is a sequence of simple words. They aren’t complex like allegories.

Literary Devices Used

In most cases, allegory makes use of symbolism. Metaphors make use of imagery.

Difference Between Allegory and Metaphor
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