The symbol is generally the simplified and deputy representation of a fact or an object, whereby this representation does not have to provide a clear conclusion on what is meant. This means that symbols are mostly pictorial, effective signs that stand for a thing or a state of affairs, and there is sometimes no obvious connection between symbol and meaning. In this case, the meaning of a symbol must be known in order to understand it (example: Blue Flower of Romanticism). Frequently, however, the symbol also illustrates the essence of an abstract concept (example: cross for Christianity). Symbols are, as a rule, very concrete objects, which stand for a general and abstract meaning. The symbol is a stylistic device and can be found in all genres of literature. Very similar stylistic figures are metaphors and allegories.
The term is derived from the Greek noun sýmbolon, which can be translated by means of recognition marks, features, characteristics or symbols. From this word is derived the Latin symbolum of the same meaning, from which the word symbol was finally borrowed.
Originally, the term was a distinguishing feature between two parties. These could be, for example, dealers, contract partners or similar persons (groups). For this purpose, a shard or bone was broken into two parts, the partners being given a fragment. If one went apart and saw (or the respective representatives) at a new meeting, it was possible to use the appropriate recognition feature to ensure that the “right” partner was in front of him.
According to this, the original meaning refers to the essential characteristic of the symbol: it is an object or the representation of an object (the clay-shard) which stands for a different state of affairs (that one has the right person). This situation is mostly abstract. This means that it is not a concrete object but a meaning. In addition, symbols are usually fixed and rarely represent what they mean. (The shard also works as a sign, because the partners agree!)
Originally a symbol was used to recognize (trading) partners at a meeting.
The example image above already illustrates the essentials: an object / sign stands for a more complex context and is determined – which is decisive. It is therefore not obvious that the subject matter is related to the context and is only apparent to the initiates. There are a few exceptions, but you do not usually see what they mean.
Symbols, however, are unambiguous only if one considers several examples which work according to the described pattern. Therefore, selected examples will clarify the whole, always giving a concise explanation of the respective symbol.
However, it must be noted that this paper is to be practical and is aimed primarily at students or students. Thus, although there are many treatises on the concept of symbols, these are generally too broad and lead only to the fact that symbols, even if they are unambiguous, are no longer recognized in poemal and general textual analyzes. We are, therefore, guided by the definition given above, whereby the stylistic figure becomes palpable.
The cross is a symbol of Christianity
The above example shows the cross that stands for Christian faith or Christianity itself. According to the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus Christ was crucified and thus executed. If one follows the biblical text, it could have been a pile or a bar. However, Christians believe that the crucifixion took place on an actual cross, whereby the earthly body of Jesus died to resurrect. In this case, the cross symbolizes the connection between the earthly and the earthly.
It is important, however, that it is not obvious for the outsider that the cross stands for Christianity – the cross shows. Nevertheless, there is a connection. This is, therefore, a very concrete object, which illustrates the essence of an abstract concept and thus represents a general sense of meaning. Let us look at another example:
The dove is a symbol of peace.
This sample image shows a dove that has been a peace symbol for centuries. Obviously, the symbolic content goes back to a story from the Old Testament of the Bible. The narrative is about the fact that God makes a deluge come over the earth, around mankind – godless and evil – umko