Definition of Symbolism
Symbolism is the use of symbols to signify ideas and qualities by giving them symbolic meanings that are different from their literal sense.
Symbolism can take different forms. Generally, it is an object representing another to give it an entirely different meaning that is much deeper and more significant. Sometimes, however, an action, an event or a word spoken by someone may have a symbolic value. For instance, “smile” is a symbol of friendship. Similarly, the action of someone smiling at you may stand as a symbol of the feeling of affection which that person has for you.
Symbols do shift their meanings depending on the context they are used in. “A chain”, for example, may stand for “union” as well as “imprisonment”. Thus, symbolic meaning of an object or an action is understood by when, where and how it is used. It also depends on who reads them.
Common Examples of Symbolism in Everyday Life
In our daily life, we can easily identify objects, which can be taken as examples of symbol such as the following:
The dove is a symbol of peace.
A red rose or red color stands for love or romance.
Black is a symbol that represents evil or death.
A ladder may stand as a symbol for a connection between the heaven and the earth. A broken mirror may symbolize separation
Examples of Symbolism in Literature
To develop symbolism in his work, a writer utilizes other figures of speech, like metaphors, similes, allegory, as tools. Some symbol examples in literature are listed below with brief analysis:
We find symbolic value in Shakespeare’s famous monologue in his play As you Like It:
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
they have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,”
The above lines are symbolic of the fact that men and women, in course of their life perform different roles. “A stage” here symbolizes the world and “players” is a symbol...
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