I thought I would briefly state, that this was an old paper I did for a mythology class. I’ve aged quite a bit since writing this.
The struggles that Christian faces in John Bunyon’s classic story of allegory, is to me one of the better literary iterations of what the human condition is. From beginning to end our vagabond (Christian) is appropriately placed in numerous circumstances and situations that you’re left with only to ponder the reality of his venture in your own lives. Over the next pages, I am going to dig into the Pilgrim Progress to draw parallels between the story and human beings living our lives and how it relates to the human condition that we all face on a daily basis. Regardless of morality and consciousness of a higher power, I believe that this story teaches much about humanity.
In the case of Christian he fears an imminent danger that awaits him, if he doesn’t get to this “mount Sion”, a metaphor of heaven. With this consciousness of doom, he no doubt is carrying along with him (whether physical or not) a heavy burden upon his back. A lot of talk of a book is given into sight from the beginning this no doubt being the holy Bible, a kind of roadmap to his venture laid out clearly in his eyes.
His first obstacle is the slough of despondence. A visual presentation of a swamp that finds men trapped in its murky waters. In the beauty of metaphors this stands as an opposition to those who are attempting to find counsel with the Lord. A man named “Help” gives refuge to Christian offering him a hand (literally) out of this swamp. This place of disposition tries many souls. Throughout its fog can be seen a series of steps that offer men a safe path out of the swamp, but few will see this path because their minds will leave them disturbed and lose sight of the path readily available to them. I think it important to think about the events in our lives that are often laid out as a clear obstacle, but through perseverance and a determination to overcome, we will have found the steps. But if one finds their mind to be overcome with the visceral, they will lose sight of the goal and be left drowning in despair. Meanwhile the one’s you thought cared will leave you abandoned (Pliable).
In ill intention there is always going to be some person who will want to persuade your ways to more conform to their own despair and struggle. In this case a one Worldly Wiseman consoles with Christian to shy his path from the one that Evangelist had set for him, at the Wicket Gate but to go and find Mr. Legality. The interesting point here is that Worldly Wiseman explains to Christian the obstacles he will face at his desired route, but offers him an “easier” route, a shortcut almost, that will guarantee him out of danger completely. Christian’s desperation of life and his struggle with the burden he carries far overshadows the troubles that Worldly Wiseman explains to him, it’s from this point that I give sight into the absolute determination that Christian has encompassed. Christian deceived, accepts the advice of Worldly Wiseman and finds himself in greater danger, as well as the burden on his back feeling yet heavier than before. He turns back at his surprise to find Evangelist who is puzzled by his whereabouts.
I can count several occasions in life where I would be considered in a state of ill-repute, and somebody would deceptively trick me into a far worse path to go along, this would bring me into a greater obstacle with the conscious burden with myself feeling far worse.
A burden, need to relieve oneself from a struggle, an obligation to be set free to change. These are all things that I believe people will come to a conclusion about at one point or another in their lives. The metaphor in this case is a large burden on Christian’s back.