definition of parable (literary figure)

The parable is a narrative with a moral teaching. Normally it is a very simple and easy to understand story, in which human passions and desires are used through characters, animals or everyday aspects of life.

Hearing the word parable comes to mind the name of Jesus, who addressed his disciples in such a way that they could easily understand him, because at that time there was no custom of reading. Most of the population was illiterate and knowledge was communicated orally. It was very important that the narration was entertaining and, above all, that it was not complex. Something similar happens when we tell stories to children. We do it for a dual purpose; On the one hand, we intend to entertain them with an attractive story and, at the same time, we want to teach them values. A child of 4 or 5 years old needs to distinguish good and evil, begin to understand how he should behave. And for this, the story is the most appropriate narrative.

The parable has a purpose similar to the children's story. However, the parable is directed to the adult man who has an elaborate reasoning, has experience but also needs good advice, a suitable pattern of behavior. This is what Jesus did with the people who listened to him and especially with his followers. This is evident in the Gospels, where an important number of parables (that of the prodigal son, that of the sower or that of the good Samaritan would be some of the best known) are told in the most important book of humanity, the Bible. . It is a religious book and, at the same time, of great literary value. Its diffusion is universal and it has been translated into all languages. Consequently, their stories and teachings are part of universal culture.

The moral intention of the parable is essential because it is the true purpose of the story being told. We need to reflect on our behavior and do so in a conceptual way that would be typical of philosophy, a complex field of knowledge with a highly specialized vocabulary that is difficult for the simple man to handle. The parable has, therefore, an indisputable literary element, because they are very attractive stories but their real purpose is of a moral character. This is what happens in any part of the world when a Christian priest addresses his faithful and uses the sacred scriptures and their parables to remind us that we must choose good and avoid evil.