Allegory


Allegory (al’-le-go-ry): A sustained metaphor continued through whole sentences or even through a whole discourse.

There once was a large man with a clownish blond hairdo. His hair was pasted to the sides of his head and the middle part swirled like a Dairy Queen; more like a yellow scoop of mashed potatoes resting on his head than actual hair.

This man was Emperor and nobody imitated his hair. Well, when they did imitate it, the hair was more like a parody: exaggerated like a Matterhorn with wings resting on his head, ready to fly away from Switzerland to France.

In fact, none of the Emperor’s cherished quirks were imitated anywhere throughout the kingdom. When he was crowned, Diet Coke’s stock plunged, seemingly because it was his favorite beverage and people refused to drink it any more. When it was disclosed that he loved red meat, three-quarters of the Kingdom became vegetarian. When it was discovered that he has a fondness for prostitutes, pimps were left to fend for themselves as the Kingdom’s men gave up whoring.

The Emperor was befuddled, thinking that he was worthy of imitation on all fronts because he was the Emperor. But he was wrong. ‘The shoe didn’t fit so the people didn’t wear it‘: no matter how much power you have, barring death threats, arrest, torture, imprisonment, and execution the ‘people’ will make the right choices.

No Dairy Queen hair. No Diet Coke. No red meat. No prostitutes. No problem.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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