The Medieval Ages are characterized by the use of numerous allegories in the priests’ rhetoric. It is possible to note that this was due to the need to convey the idea of the God’s and the Church’s grandness. People had to obey all the rules introduced by the priests and the latter used hidden meanings and allegories to achieve their aims.
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One of the allegories is the life of a person as history. Thus, an individual’s life was not “just a random string of temporal events but was itself a story” (Vitz 112). This allegory was very useful for priests who used it as a potent rhetorical device. Thus, people did not have to (or even could not) think that they were individuals with their own goals. All had to think that they were only a part of the larger story and nothing more.
Importantly, this allegory is closely connected with the central idea that reigned in the Medieval Times. Priests stressed the idea that the entire history is a story written by God. More so, the priests often used allegories revealing the idea that “only God – its author – really knew, in detail, what the story was” (Vitz 112). God was knowledgeable and people could not see the whole picture and, hence, had to follow rules set.
Admittedly, people could not think of the purpose of their life and they could not try to change it as it was against God’s will. Of course, this was beneficial for the clergy who could take complete control over people who had to work and be almost slaves of the priests and nobility.
The fight of angels and demons for people’s souls is also an important allegory used by priests. Thus, dying people are often depicted in the center of the battle. The battle stands for passions that can overcome people and people’s duty to resist temptations. Again, these temptations are not only connected with such simple things as being good to people and living simple lives. One of major virtues was being submissive and following the rules set by priests. Therefore, the battle of demons and angels is a reminder for people to live in a righteous way to get the most important thing in the world, afterlife in paradise.
Another important allegory is the Last Judgment. Apart from the judgment right after death, all souls are bound to be judged when the Doomsday comes. This is another trial all people have to remember of. The priests used this allegory quite often as they used it as a tool to make people obedient.
A very widespread allegory was also the idea of witchcraft. The priests started the war on witchcraft which was, in reality, in the vast majority of cases, a struggle against disobedience or attempts to think differently. A person could be condemned as a witch for trying to question the order established by the priests and/or nobility.
Thus, scientists who tried to reveal secrets of nature or women who could treat people with herbs were all seen as witches as they tried to do what only priests could do. Saving people or explaining secrets of nature were complete responsibilities of the priests who stressed that they were instruments of god. Clearly, this was a strong allegory as the priests created horrific pictures in people’s minds and they could keep all people in obedience.
Vitz, Evelyn Birge. Medieval Narratives and Modern Narratology: Subjects and Objects of Desire. New York, NY: NYU Press, 1992. Print.