Good art creates images that space rich in many meanings. Chaucer"s Old male is a brilliant example. That would most likely be a mistake to look for one meaning or message. Instead, how many different concepts can you, personally, find suggested in the writing?

The literal Old Man

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The figure of the Old Man definitely has symbolic significance, as well as important literal meanings. In relation to the 3 ‘rioters", the is old, dignified, simple and modest, and also he tries to assist and advise. Lock treat him through coarse contempt, showing no respect for an older person. By contrast, Chaucer offers the Old Man"s speech to voice the means the old should be treated. He speaks blessings ~ above them, if the youths can only swear at him.

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A didactic device

Chaucer provides the Old man to teach about certain truths:

Respect for others / the old. Through behaving for this reason loutishly to him, the three youths provide a reminder about the moral duty of the young to salary respect come the old Evil equates to stupidity. Conversely, Chaucer"s audience correctly understand what the Old male is saying about death and the warnings that is giving, the young men are shown as being totally mindless and also blind to dangers. Castle heedlessly rush on your thuggish, greedy way, in the direction of disaster.

The symbolic Old Man

The figure of the Old guy makes us inquiry the text at a depth level. For instance:

The text says that he represents something the can"t die. What can this be? What things might be described in those terms? death itself? human being life? Sin? countless other things? it is also said that planet is this figure"s mother. How could that be interpreted? What need to be do of the man"s longing come die? and the planet refusing to accept him?

In imaginative terms, this puzzling type of writing, in which we feel there need to be a meaning beyond the literal, is symbolic writing, not simply allegory. Allegory is translatable right into just a solitary meaning; a symbol stop multiple resonances.

So is there one ‘right" answer to what the Old guy represents? It seems not. The prize is capable of motivating readers to so plenty of interpretations. Absolutely one method is to check out him together a figure that cleverly suggests many ideas around materialism.


In literature, something that is favored to take on a particular definition by the writer, e.g. Clouds as symbols of mutability.

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A non-realistic genre of literature through which characters or episodes systematically stand for a details belief system. Interpretation of allegory can involve 2 or an ext levels of meaning.