The Pilgrim’s Progress opens in a most dramatic manner. A man, being aware of the destruction of his native place, runs away with an intention to reach the City of Destruction. He runs away from home in quest of the “eternal life”. He is clothed in rags, and he has a heavy burden on his back. On his way, he faces many troubles. He faces many obstacles and confronts many temptations. Still, he is able to overcome all the evils by the guidance of the Evangelist, by his faith towards God and Christ, and by the help of his well-wishers on his way. The burden on his back drops off and he successfully reaches the CelestialCity. The whole expedition of this man Christian – from the very beginning to the end – symbolizes the spiritual journey of not only Christian’s but also of the any human being. As such, this includes the awareness of sin, the spiritual doubts and temptations, guidance and misguidance, attainment and strengthening of faith and ultimately achieving eternal glory.
The man named Christian is the pilgrim, who represents every human soul. He starts his journey with an agitation in mind. At first, he is able to overcome the obstacle created by his family. He is lucky enough that he has met Evangelist, the preacher and gets the fresh instruction to go towards the Wicket Gate. After surviving the Slough of Despond, the pilgrim is allowed to enter the Wicket Gate. He visits the house of the Interpreter, who shows him seven instructive pictures to strengthen the spiritual life. The burden on his back drops off when he arrives at the Cross. Now Christian is clothed in fresh garments, and given a roll as a short identity card. After a time, he arrives at the Palace Beautiful where he is given a sword and armour. It is the sword of spirit by which Christian is able to defeat and drive away Apollyon in the Valley of Humiliation. Then, in the grace of God, Christian passes through the Valley of the Shadow of Death by using the weapon. A sweet neighbor of Christian named Faithful joins him but he is sentenced to death in the Vanity Fair arranged by the Devils. Inspired by Faithful’ martyrdom, another man named Hopeful now joins Christian to accompany him. It is Hopeful who gives courage and mental strength to Christian in different times. When Christian and Hopeful are about to die in the DoubtingCastle, Christian is ready to surrender his soul to Giant Despair. Hopeful argues him not to do that and after a few days they manage to escape. They resume their journey and finally the two pilgrims reach the River of Death. After crossing the river, they arrive at the gate of CelestialCity. All bells in the City start ringing joyfully and the two pilgrims start leading the happiest life.
The second part of The Pilgrim’s Progress describes the journey of Christian’s wife, Christiana, who is accompanied by her four sons, and a young girl named Mercy. The pilgrims follow the same route as Christian has done. But in the course of their journey, they are able to secure the services of a man named Mr. Great Heart as their guide and their protector. Their journey remains easier and leisurely than Christian’s. They stay for a month at the Palace Beautiful, more than a month in Gaius’s inn, and for some time in the town of Vanity which is now far less dangerous for the pilgrims than it originally has been. However, they also face problems, which they manage to overcome. Also, in the course of Christiana’s journey, marriages take place, and children are born. Furthermore, the party is joined by other pilgrims such as Mr. Honest, Mr. Fearing, Mr. Feeblemind, Mr. Ready-to-halt, Mr. Valiant-for-the-truth, and Mr. Stand-fast. When they come to the River of Death, Christiana soon crosses it. Then, most of the pilgrims get permission to enter the CelestialCity except Christiana’s four sons, their wives and their children. It is the wish of God that they should continue to live on the earth in order to breed children and to add to the number of the followers of the Church.
The Pilgrim’s Progress is written by John Bunyan on his own spiritual conflict. The novel is the spiritual autobiography of John Bunyan and thus projects his own spiritual conflicts and mental tensions. Bunyan was born on November, 1628, at Elstow, a village situated at a distance of about one mile from the city of Bedford (in England). His father was a travelling tinker who mended kettles, pans, and other household things. The family was basically respectable but very poor. The only education that the boy, John Bunyan, could receive was elementary education at the village free school. In his early life, Bunyan was a pious or religious person. According to his own account, Bunyan led a dissolute and reckless life in his early youth. He described himself as “the ungodliest fellow” for swearing and for breaking the Sabbath.
In those years, he also showed his strong leaning to sin and vice. His sense of his sinfulness subsequently plunged him into a long lasting despondency. He began to be afflicted by a strange spiritual conflict. There was a continual struggle in his mind between faith and doubt. He could not resist the temptation of the world, and yet he tried hard to overcome those temptations. He became a victim of a painful conflict in his mind and spirit. However, his goodness was able to defeat his evil motive. The impulse for self-uniform became so strong that he made up his mind to give up all the worldly pleasures. He was able overcome the evil side of his nature and became one of the great champions of the Puritan faith and a regular preacher of his faith.
Bunyan’s fearless denunciation of vice and his preaching of the Puritan and Calvinistic doctrines brought him into conflict with authorities. The Clergymen of the English Established Church brought Bunyan into trial and sentenced to jail for twelve years, from 1660 to 1672. Some of his most famous works were written during this period. These were : Grace Abounding; Justification by Jesus Christ; and Defence of the Doctrine of Justification. According to most of the biographers, even his greatest work, part one of The Pilgrim’s Progress, was written during the last year of imprisonment. Subsequently, after his second imprisonment, in 1684 he wrote part two of the Pilgrim’s Progress.
Significance of The Pilgrim’s Progress
The Pilgrim’s progress is the most famous religious allegory in the English language. The Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory because the characters in the story are personifications of human vices, human failings and human virtues. Almost every incident in the story has its own moral significance which is not difficult for the readers to interpret or understand. In other words, a youngster may go through this book and enjoy it as a story of brave warriors, armed knights, giants, demons, dragons, thrilling battles, and narrow escape. But for the mature or elderly readers, the story has a moral or spiritual value. The dramatic interest of Bunyan’s allegorical novel holds us spell-bound as we go through it. At the same time, vivid portrayal of the various characters appeals strongly to our imagination.
The moral of the whole story is that by means of faith, hope and firm determination, a man can gain the salvation of his soul. In the process of doing so, he has to overcome his spiritual doubts, he has to overcome the temptation of despair, he has to conquer all carnal desires and forego all the pleasures of the flesh. The seeker of the salvation must always be on his guard against the threats of the Devil who is the enemy of God and of Jesus Christ. It is also to be noted that a man can achieve salvation only if he gains the grace of God and if he remains constantly aware of righteousness of Christ who is the Redeemer. He, who wants to achieve the salvation of his soul, has to suffer much his suffering leads him towards success. All these allegories have made the novel great. Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, most English and American families who owned a Bible had a copy of The Pilgrim’s Progress.
The literary significance of Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress lies in Bunyan’s concrete vitality and narrative power. Though, Daniel Defoe is called the father of English novel. It would be right to call him the founder of modern English novel. Bunyan was certainly a pioneer of the modern English novel. He had all the qualities of a great story-teller. He had insight into character and he also had humour, pathos, and the visualizing imagination of the dramatic artist. The Pilgrim’s Progress provides all these things. Despite all its moralizing and theological zeal, the greatness of The Pilgrim’s Progress is the greatness of a genuine work of art.
Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress depicts the progress of the pilgrim, Christian, from a life of sin to his resolve to attain the eternal life, then to his victories over various kinds of temptations, and to his final triumph marked by his arrival in the Celestial City. This study interprets the spiritual significance of Christian’s journey and brings out the mystery of his strength to overcome any kind of obstacles and temptations. The first chapter focuses on the beginning of Christian’s spiritual journey. It interprets how Christian becomes aware of his burden of sin and leaves his family to follow the divine guidance. Chapter two is a discussion on the doubts and weaknesses of Christian’s soul. The third chapter brings out the various temptations Christian faces. Chapter four is a discussion on the moral lessons Christian gets on his way of spiritual journey. Chapter five interprets all the divine supports and their significance in his life. Chapter six is a brief account of Christian’s wife, Christiana’s journey that shows how it parallels the journey of Christian.
Beginning of Christian’s Spiritual Journey:
All the events of this allegory is experienced by the narrator in his dream. The narrator is walking through the desolate regions. Then he reaches near a den where he lays down to sleep. He dreams of a man clothed in rags, carries a book in his hand and bears a burden on his back. The man is named Christian, who starts reading the book, and then bursts into tears. Unable to control his feelings, he sorrowfully says to himself: “What shall I do? What shall I do to be saved?” (51) Allegorically, the book Christian reads is the Bible. Christian’s urge to remove his burden on his back symbolizes his strong desire to remove his burden of sin
Obstacle erected by his family:
Christian feels strong urge to remove is burden and strong desire to save his wife, children and neighbors. Christian goes home and tells his anxiety to his wife and children. He says, “ ‘O my dear wife’, said he, ‘and you the children of my bowels,/ I your dear friend am in myself undone, by reason of a burden/ That lieth upon me.” (51) Christian also says that their city will be destroyed by fire from Heaven, but the others do not believe him. His wife thinks some madness has crept into his head and sleep would cure him. “But the night was as troublesome to him as the day: / Wherefore instead of sleeping, he spent it in slights and tears.” (52)
Christian tries to convince the people of the city but they insult him. Not only that, when Christian starts his Journey, his wife and children begin to shout to force him back.
Instructions of Evangelist:
When Christian is very much helpless and does not know what he shall do, he luckily meets a stranger named, Evangelist approaching him. The stranger is very keen to know about Christian’s hopelessness and wariness. Christian discloses his mental and physical situation to Evangelist- “I fear that this burden that is upon my back will sink me lower than the grave; and I shall fall into Tophet”. (52)
Evangelist is a representative of God and Jesus Christ. Evangelist plays the role of a missionary and helps those people who really seek allegiance of God. He shows Christian a direction who is really seeking salvation of his soul, and to walk toward a wicket gate. Evangelist advises- “ Keep the light in your eye, and go up directly thereto, / So that thou see the Gate at witch, when thou knockest, / It shalt be told thee what thou shalt do.” (52)
Christian is very much delighted that he has got divine guidance to lead his way and thus be able to remove his burden on his back. He shows cordial thanks to Evangelist for giving the valuable instruction. Now Christian starts running and cries out: “Life, life, eternal life” in the direction of the light which he has been shown in the distance. His wife and children try to prevent him and his neighbors come out to see him running.
This is how, Christian starts his journey towards the way of God. His strong faith on God remains as his strength in his journey and he is determine to continue the journey alone.
Spiritual Doubts in Christian
In the course of Christian’s journey, he encounters many obstacles and many dangers which allegorically represent the states of his mind at different times. These difficulties and dangers also represent spiritual doubts on the way of pilgrimage. When a religious minded man desires for salvation of his soul, he has to overcome all the doubts, dangers and difficulties. He who has firm determination and strong mind can overcome all the obstacles. It is also necessary for the pilgrims to gain the grace of Christ and God. Christian has experienced the following obstacles on the way of his Journey.
The Slough of Despond:
The theme of the whole of The Pilgrim’s Progress is the opposition between the claims of the flesh and the claims of the spirit. The Slough of Despond is the first obstacle which Christian encounters. While Christian travels towards the wicket gate, he falls into a bog named Slough of Despond.
Christian is at this time accompanied by a neighbor called pliable who has joined him on his projected pilgrimage. Having fallen into the Slough of Despond, both of them struggle to get out of it. They are both badly covered with dirt and mud. Pliable now begins to feel angry for having come with Christian and says, “Is this the happiness you have told me all this while of? (57) However, after having struggled for a few minutes, pliable manages to get out of it. Feeling disgust with this experience, Pliable then goes back home.
Christian finds himself alone sinking in the slough because of the burden on his back. Pliable has been able to come out easily because the side of the slough is nearer towards his house. But Christian suffers much because he is determined to go towards the wicket-gate. He has no intention to turn back. After having struggled much, he is pulled out of the slough by a man called help.
The Slough of Despond allegorically means a state of depression or despondency caused by fears and doubts. He who desires to salvation, feels burdened by his own sing, and he therefore becomes a victim of despondency. A man must conquer this despondency in order to advance spiritually. If a traveler does not have a strong mind and exceptional will power, he is bound to experience doubts and fears. Christians and Pliable falling into the slough of despond only means that their minds are being attacked by doubts and fears. Pliable being a weak-minded man, has gone back home. But Christian has a much stronger mind and his determination does not weaken on account of this obstacle. He is able to overcome his doubts.
The slough of despond is a place which cannot be improved or mended so as to make it possible for travelers and pilgrims to make their journey safely. As a sinner becomes more and more aware of his lost condition, there arises in his soul many fears, doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, all of which collected together and settled in this placed. On the other hand, the slough exists because of the sinfulness of human beings and because this sinfulness never comes to an end. As long as there is sin, the slough will continue. The steps in the slough symbolize the guidance which a seeker after god receives provided he seeks such guidance. Mr. Help, who helps Christian to overcome the Slough of Despond, allegorically means any helpful man who strengthens the resolve of one who has already made up his mind to achieve his noble purpose.
The Hill Difficulty:
After getting rid of heavy burden in the wall of salvation Christian resumes his journey towards the celestial city. He also gets a rolled up certificate by three angles. On the way, Christian encounters some horrible obstacles in ascending the Hill Difficulty. The dangers in the hill draw a great horror in Christian’s mind Christian shows his courage in continuing his Journey through the Hill Difficulty.
Christian and the two other men (Formalist and Hypocrisy) come beside the Hill called Difficulty. At the bottom of which is a spring of water. There are two ways. One way lay towards the left hand, and the other the right hand of the narrow way which goes right up the hill Christian first goes to the spring, and takes a drink of water to refresh himself. He then being to go up the hill, along the narrow and straight way. Formalist and Hypocrisy, seeing the hill steep and high, take the two other ways.
Christian continues going up the hill, finds a pleasant arbors where he decides to take rest. He takes his rolled certificate from his chest pocket reads from it and falls asleep. In his sleep, his roll falls out of his kind. A man comes to him and urges Christian not to sleep. When Christian resumes his Journey suddenly sees two men, named Timorous and Mistrust, running towards him. They warn Christian of two lions who we along the way. The lions might tear term into pieces. Christian is very much afraid but he says-
“You make me afraid but whither shall I fly to be safe? If I go back to mine own country, that is prepared for fire and brim stone, and I shall certainly perish there. It I can get to the celestial city I am sure to be in safe there.” (87)
Christian fearfully continues his journey remembering that the parchment roll will serve as his admission ticket for his entry into the celestial city. Suddenly he discovers that he has lost his roll. He falls down upon his knees and asks God’s forgiveness for his foolish act. He returns sorrowfully to the Arbour where he has left it. “Sometimes he sighed, sometimes he wept, and of ten times he child himself, for being so polish to roll asleep in that place ”.(88 )
Christian is able to able recover roll and tears of joy starts coming from his eyes. The lions symbolize the persecution to which the Dissenters and non-conformists were subjected in Bunyan’s time. Bunyan himself had to spend several years in jail because he was a Deserter and because he used to preach the non-conformist and Calvinistic doctrines.
The Valley of Humiliation:
Christian enters and Valley of Humiliation where he encounters a monster Apollyon who Christian begins to feel afraid, and he wonders whether he should go back or stand his ground. If he turns back, the devil would have an advantage over him because the devil would be able to shoot arrows at his back with his bow, So, Christian decides that the best course for him would be to stand and face Apollyon.
The monster called Apollyon is hideous to see. He is clothed with scales like a fish, has wings like a dragon, has feet like a bear. Out of his mouth comes fire and smoke, and his mouth is like the mouth of lion. The monster urges Christian to go back to his home. Apollyon declares, “There is no prince that will thus lightly / Lose his subjects, neither will I as yet lose thee” (103) Apollyon also says that Christian should continue offering worship to him Apollyon and not to think of serving another master namely God.
Here Apollyon points out some things. Christian has so far been living in a country where the Devil has been the supreme power. The devil is the shown enemy of god. Apollyon points out to Christian that the latter has already proved unfaithful to God. Apollyon reminds Christian of the latter’s misadventure in the slough of Despond, of having slept sinfully on are occasion and having lost his parchment roll and of having almost decided to go back at the sight of the lions. Christian admits these charge but says that the prince whom he serves and honors is merciful and forgiving Christian says that it was the environment of the country in which the was living that was responsible for the sins he has committed. But he feels repentant over his sins and obtains the pardon of God.
Finding Christian determined to proceed on his journey, Apollyon loses his temper. He declares that he is an enemy of the ruler whom Christian wishes to worship. He also declares that he hates the laws which the other ruler enforces that he hates the laws which the other ruler enforces in the territory belonging to him. Apollyon new spreads his body over the whole breadth of the way and bids Christian prepare himself to die. Apollyon swears by his internal den that Christian would not be allowed to go any further, and that he would spill Christian’s soul Christian is still saying to Apollyon, “Apollyon, beware what you do, for I am in the king’s highway, the way of holiness, therefore take heed to yourself.”(105)
Apollyon throws flaming arrow at Christian’s breast, but Christian is able to ward off the arrow with his sword. Apollyon then strength, is able to prevent their piercing his body and killing him, However, Apollyon is able to wound Christian in his head, in his lands, and in his feet. But even then Christian is not prepared to surrender. The combat lasts for more than half a day. Now, Christian is very much tired and his sword flies out of his hand. Apollyon thinks that he has conquered Christian, and Christian also thinks that he is going to be killed. But, as god would have it, Christian nimbly stretches his arm to pick up his sword and, managing to pick it up. This sword, trust proves too much for Apollyon who now spread forth his dragon’s wings, and flies away, Christian never sees Apollyon after wards, Christian says to himself, “I will here give thanks to him that both delivered me out of the mouth of the lion, to him that did help me against Apollyon.” (106)
Christian realizes that it is Christ who has given him the courage to fight against an agent of the great Beelzebub who is the captain of all the devils. It is the blessed angel Michael, who has helped Christian by means of the sword which Christian carries. Accordingly, Christian decides to give everlasting praise to Michael and to bless his holy name always. As for the wounds which Christian has suffered at the hands of Apollyon, a miraculous land appears with some leaves of the tree of life. Christian takes these leaves and applies them to the wounds which he has received, with the result that the wounds heal up immediately. The then sits down to eat bread and to drink from the bottle which had been given to him by one of the daughters of the palace Beautiful. Feeling refreshed, he resumes his journey.
Symbolically, the monster stands for the devil who tries to prevent Christian from the path which is to take him to the celestial city. The sword with which Christian defects the devil symbolizes faith. Christian’s victory over Apollyon or the devil means the victory of faith over the temptation of devil.
Apollyon also represents the spiritual doubts which the people experience in the course of their lives Bunyan had himself felt tormented by spiritual doubts in his youth and had later recorded his experience in his book “Grace Abounding” Apollyon ultimately flies away symbolizes the end of Christian’s Spiritual doubts. The man of faith has to face many hurdles in his way. He must therefore possess unshakable determination and unwavering faith in god or he must have strong wishes to enter the kingdom of heaven the combat between Christian and Apollyon is an allegories of a hold men’s firm stand against the temptations of the devil. The Valley of Humiliation and Apollyon are representing all these things.
The Valley of the Shadow of Death
Christian enters the Valley of the Shadow of Death. The Valley holds even great danger for the pilgrims. Christian cannot avoid entering this valley because the way to the CelestialCity lay through the midst of it. The Valley is a solitary place. In this Valley, Christian finds himself in an even greater difficulty than he has faced in his fight with Apollyon. Even before Christian’s entrance in the Valley, two men meet him and urges him to turn back because in this Valley, they have seen satyrs, hobgoblins, and dragons, and have heard yelling as of people suffering indescribable misery or of people sitting bound in chains and groaning. The two men also tell Christian that over this Valley hung the discouraging clouds of confusion, ad that Death always spread his wings over it. But Christian pays no attention to the warning of these two men, and continues his joinery.
Christian sees, as far as the Valley stretched, there is on the right hand a very deep ditch and on the left hand a very dangerous quay. The pathway between the ditch and the quag is extremely narrow. Christian finds it very difficult to walk along it much confidence. The darkness prevailing all over the Valley makes Christian’s task more difficult. About the midst of this Valley, Christian sees what seemed to be the mouth of Hell seemed to be the mouth of Hell. Flame and smoke are Coming out of this mouth in great abundance, and are accompanied by hideous noises. Christian has been walking with his sword drawn. But now he finds that his sword would serve no purpose. He therefore betakes himself to another weapon, the now of which s ‘All-prayer’. And thus Christian goes forward safely for Some time though the flames still followed him.
Christian comes to a place where he sees a crowd of fiends coming forward to attack him. There he stops and begins to consider what he should do. He has half a mind to go back. But he has already gone half way through the Valley; and turning back might prove even more dangerous than going onward. So he decides to go on . When the fiends have some very close to him, he cries out in a very loud voice that he could walk onwards with the strength of the Lord God. The fiends moved away and do not attack him. But, “One thing. I would not let slip, I took noise that now poor Christian was so confused that he did not know his own voice.” (110) Christian also now hears a voice of a man who seems to be going ahead of him and who is saying, “ Though, I walk through the Valley of the shadow of Death, I will fear none ill, for thou art with me”(110)
These words further strengthens Christian‘s mind and so he goes on. By and by, the darkness gives way to light; and the Christian says to himself that God has turned the shadow of Death into morning.
Now Christian sees the sun rising. But although the terrors of darkness has now ended, Christian finds that this part of the Valley is even more dangerous than the first part. He sees that form the place where he now stands to the very end of the Valley, the entire way is full of snare, traps, and nets, and is rendered more risky by pits and deep holes in the ground over which he is to tread. According to Christian, “That though the first part of the Valley of the shadow of Death was dangerous, yet this second part which he was yet to go, was, it possible, far more dangerous.”(111)
At the end of the Valley Christian sees blood, bones, ashes and mangled bodies of those pilgrims who ha gone this way previously. Then going a little further Christian sees a cave in which two giants called Pope and Pagan used to live. It is these giants who have killed the pilgrims whose bones and blood Christian has just seen. However, Pagan has been dead for quite a long time now, while Pope has grown so old that he can do no karma to any passing traveler. And in this manner Christian is able to cross a Valley which holds many terror and dangers for pilgrims.
Like every of her episode in The Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian’s rising the Valley of the shadow has great allegorical significance. The Valley symbolizes the spiritual doubts which cross the mind of a man who seeks God. A seeker after God sometimes begins to wonder whether there is any God, whether there is any heaven or hell, whether there is any point in practicing those virtues which religion teaches. Doubt is indeed the greatest enemy of all religious aspirations which a man have. There is so much in this world to tempt us that we wonder whether we should deny to ourselves all those comforts and pleasures which the world has to offer .Bunyan himself had experienced agonizing doubts. Perhaps, he would not have been able to describe fears and horrors of the Valley of the shadow of Death so vividly and convincingly if he himself had not experienced spiritual doubts and spiritual uncertainty.
The darkness of this Valley symbolizes the darkness which envelops a main’s mind and soul when he finds himself sear eking in the dark the ultimate truth. The giants, Pope and Pagan, Who kill pilgrims, symbolize the doubts which try to swallow a main’s spiritual longings. In deed the path of piety and virtue is not easy. Bunyan has really succeeded in creating fear and terror in our minds by his account of Christians journey through the Valley of the Shadow of Death which is more frightening then even the Valley of Humiliation where had to fight against Apollyon.
This Valley offers a desolate, barren landscape. In this solitary place, Christian’s experiences a terrifying feeling of loneliness c Christian ‘s success in crossing this Valley symbolizes his victory over doubt and his attainment of confidence as well as of a sense of order in the universe. His confidence and courage encounter by the fear and doubt, but he is able to revive it.
The Doubting Castle
Hopeful continues travelling in Christian’s accompany. However Christian and Hopeful have not yet gained perfection in spiritual sense. The two pilgrims are soon afterwards overtaken by disaster. Christian makes the mistake of entering of By-Path Meadow and Hopeful follows him. Christian and Hopeful are preceded by a man named Vain-confidence.
Christian and Hopeful fall into a deep pit named DoubtingCastle. This territory is a domination ruled by Giant Despair. Here, Christian encounters more danger than his previous other obstacles. Christian offers his regret to Hopeful for having misled him into the region. Now they try to turn back and get out of this territory but they find that it is already very dark now. Besides, the river, which they would have to cross, has become flooded, thus making it dangerous for them to go back. They therefore sit down to spend the night and they fall asleep.
Early in the morning, Giant Despair spies Christian and Hopeful lying asleep in the grounds. In grim and angry voice he calls upon them to wake up and asks them why they have trespassed into his grounds. The Giant, who is furious because of these pilgrims having entered his territory without his permission, drives them to DoubtingCastle and imprisons them in a dark dungeon of the castle. In this dungeon the two pilgrims lie from Wednesday morning till Saturday night without any food or drop of water. The Giant urges, “ Since they were never like to come out of that place their only way would forthwith to make an end of themselves, either with knife, halter or poison.”(165)
Christian is very much depressed and leans to commit suicide. Because, Christian finds in the DoubtingCastle, it is better to commit suicide than the misery in the castle. According to Christian, “My soul chooseth strangling rather than life ; and the grave is more easy for me than this dungeon: shall we be ruled by the Giant.” (165)
Hopeful gives sound advice to Christian, and tells him that suicide that would lead them to hell, and reminds him of the past victories. Hopeful says that it is sinful to murder anyone, and that would be even more sinful for them to kill themselves. He also argues that if a man kills another man, he only murders the body of that man; but, if a man kills himself, he kills body and soul at once. Hopeful also says that circumstances may change suddenly, and that Giant Despair may meet a sudden end, thus malting if possible for then to regain their freedom. On the other hand, Giant Despair’s wife is also very much angry and she urges her husband to take his prisoners into the castle-yard on the following day. She says-
Take them into the castle yard tomorrow, and show them the bones and skulls of those that thou hast already dispatched, and make them believe are a week come to an end thou also will tear them in pieces as thou host their fellow before them. (167).
The Giant does as he has been bidden by his wife the takes his prisoners into the castle-yard and shows them the bones and skulls of those who had trespassed into his grounds in the post and whom he had torn into pieces. The Giant than says that, within the next ten days, he would deal with the two of them also in the same manner. And than he takes them back into the dungeon beating them all the way. The prisoners begin to pray to god, and they continue their prayer till day-break. The giant’s wife urges her husband to kill the prisoners immediately because they might find some means of escape.
A little before sunrise, Christian suddenly remembers something which cheers him greatly. He tells hopeful that he has been in his bosom a key called Promise, and that this key cam open any lock in Doubting castle. With this key they open the gates of the prisons and they escape. The two pilgrims now find themselves once again on the right path.
The allegorical significance of this episode is also very great. Indeed, its allegorical value is greater than that of the episode of Christian’s combat with Apollyon. Giant Despair symbolizes despair in Christian’s theology figures as one of the most hateful sins. A truly religious man never gives way to despair. Despair means total hopelessness; and this state of mind is one which every holy man must avoid. A true Christian is required to overcome the temptation to despair. The protagonist in this story is seeking salvation; and he must prove his salvation if he has to achieve it. There are a large number of hurdles which the protagonist has to cross before he can enter the celestial city. One of those hurdles is despair.
Much of the credit for Christian’s victory goes to hopeful whose very name shows that he can never lose hope. If Christian had been alone, he would perhaps have given way to despair and committed suicide. But hopeful inspires Christian with courage, with faith, and with hope. The key, with which Christian opens the locks of the prison, has its own allegorical value. This key symbolizes the promises and the assurances which the Bible offers to the followers of Jesus Christ. Doubting castle symbolizes the spiritual or religious doubt may acquire upon a man. The escape from this castle symbolizes a rejection of all doubts and going forward in a state of hopefulness.
Temptation on the way
The persons who feel burden of sin and seek salvation, must be tempted by different objects. Those, who will be able to check their minds and able to ignore the temptation, will be able to reach their destination. In the The Pilgrim’s Progress, the protagonist Christian, who desires to remove his burden of sin encounters different temptations in different times in the course of his journey.
Mr. Worldly Wiseman
Mr. Worldly Wiseman, as the very name shows, is a man possessing worldly wisdom. Worldly wisdom is something different from true wisdom. Christian desires to seek salvation and has been directed by Evangelist to travel towards the distant light near which he would find a wicket-gate. But Mr. Worldly Wiseman deflects Christian from the right path. Mr. Worldly Wiseman is a resident of the town of cornel policy. He says to Christian,
I would advise thee then thou with all speed get thyself rid of thy burden’ for thou will never be settled in thy mind till then; nor canst thou enjoy benefits of the blessing which God hath bestowed upon thee till then. (60)
Mr. Worldly Wiseman says Christian that he should forget the advice which evangelist has given him. Mr. Worldly Wiseman also says that the path, which Christian is following in accordance with Evangelist’s advice, is the most dangerous and troublesome that could be imagined. By following this path, says Mr. Worldly Wiseman a traveler is sure to meet Weariness, painfulness, hunger, nakedness, swords, lions, dragons, darkness, and, in a word, death.
Mr. Worldly Wiseman then claims that he can direct Christian to follow a path which would enable him to attain the fulfillment of his desire without the dangers which Christian would have to face by following the path shown to him by Evangelist. Mr. Worldly Wiseman then points towards a village called Moralist which is situated at some distance, and in which lives a gentlemen whose name is Mr. Legality has the skill to cure all those who are feeling Miserable on account of the burdens which they carry on their backs. Mr. Worldly Wiseman says father that Christian would feel very happy if he settles down in that village and follows the advice of Mr. Legality Many houses are available in village and Christian could pass a happy life with his wife and children. Accordingly, Christian turns out of his way to go to Mr. Legality’s house in the village of Morality. However, when Christian approaches the kill which stands close to the village of Morality, he finds if is very difficult to go ahead. Christian feels that the hill world fall upon his head.
Also his burden, now seemed heavier to him, than while he was in his way. There come also flashes of fire out of the Hill, the made Christian afraid that he should be burdened; here therefore he sweat, and did quake for fear. (63)
Immediately, Christian understands his fault that he has taken Mr Worldly Wiseman advice Christian also begins to feel sorry for his act. Just then he sees Evangelist coming towards him. Evangelist scolds Christian for having deviated from the path which Evangelist had shown him. Christian once again sets out his journey in the direction of Evangelist.
The Allegorical significance of Worldly Wiseman
Mr. Worldly Wiseman symbolizes the kind of person who strongly believes than he can achieve his own salvation by obeying the law of Moses. Mr. Worldly Wiseman also symbolizes the kind of wisdom which is necessary for the attainment of material prosperity and worldly advancement. Worldly wisdom consists in a knowledge of things which belong to this would, which true wisdom goes much further and is concerned with matters pertaining top the next world also. A worldly-wise man in one who can provide knowledge and guidance to people seeking material goods. But a truly wise man is he who possess enough knowledge to be able to develop himself spiritually and to get nearer to god. Here Evangelist symbolizes true wisdom.
Mr. Worldly Wiseman tries to convince Christian to surrender his Christianity under the care of Mr. Legality and his son Mr. Civility in the village of Morality Mr. Legality symbolizes life lived in accordance with the secular laws, to the exclusion of truly religious principles and spiritual values Mr. Civility symbolizes hypocrisy which is a big vice in the eyes of the puritans. Mr. Worldly Wiseman urges Christian to live merely in accordance with the moral code of Christianity without having any spiritual values.
Temptation in the Vanity Fair:
When Christian and Faithful have gone out of the wilderness, they are in a town named Vanity. Beelzebub, Apollyon, Legion and their companions have arranged a fair to tempt the pilgrims to the celestial city. Christian and Faithful and been warned before by Evangelist that, on arriving in the town of vanity, they would have to face many unpleasant situations and that one or both of them might even be put to death.
The fair is known as vanity fair because all the things that are on sale at the fair are of the most in trivial and worthless kind. This fair had been it’s founded about five thousand year before. Various kinds of articles and things are being sold in the fair such as houses, hands, trades, places, honours, promotions, title kingdoms, husbands, wives, bawds, children, masters, servants lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearly, precious stones etc. “And moreover, at this fair there is at all times to be seen jugglings, cheats, gomes, plays, fools, apes, knaves, and rogues, and that of all sorts. (137)”
Here are also to be seen thefts, murders, adulteries, false-swearers, and other evil dowers. There are several rows or streets where particular goods are available. There are the British row, the French row, the Italian row, the Spanish row, and so on, where several kinds of vanities are on sale.
Christian and Faithful are asked by the traders what they would like to buy. The pilgrims explain that they are on their way to the country called the heavenly Jerusalem, and that they do not wish to buy any of the things that are on sale at the fair. If at all they are to buy anything, they would buy truth in the faith. “The people therefore of the fair made a great gazing upon them: some said they were fools, some they were bed lams, and some they are outlandish men”. (138)
Not only that, on hearing the reply from the two pilgrims, the traders become indignant and begin to beat the pilgrim. After having beaten them, they besmear them with dirt, and then put them into a cage so that they might serve as an example to warn the other travelers against adopting this non-cooperative attitude. Christian and faithful bear this ill-treatment patiently. However, some of the inhabitants of the town become sympathetic towards the two victims of ill-treatment. So that a creak now occurs between those who have become antagonistic towards the pilgrims and those who feel some sympathy for them.
The two pilgrims are then brought to trial before the judge, Lord Hategood, and charged with disturbing peace. Envy, superstition and Pickthank appear against faithful. The comment against Christian and Faithful is this:
That they were enemies to, and disturbers of their trade; that they had made commotions and division in the town, and had won a partly to their own most dangerous opions, in contempt of the law of their prince. (141)
Pick-Thank says, for instance, that the accused by the name of Faithful has spoken against the noble Prince Beelzebub, and against such worthy friends of Beezebub as the Lord desire of vain-glory, the land lechery, and Sir having greedy.
The judge now calls the members of the jury to give him their opinion of the case. He says that it is for the jury to decide whether the main accused, namely Faithful, be hanged or spared. The jury declares that the accused faithful should be put to death. Accordingly, Faithful is first flogged, then beaten, then pierced with knives, then stoned, and finally, burned at the stoke. Christian sees a group of heavenly beings are taking Faithfull’s dead body with them, putting it in a chariot, and carrying it through the clouds to the gate of the celestial city. In the meantime, Christian manages to escape from the custody of his enemies and goes his way singing about Faithfull’s glorious end.
Well faithful, thous hast faithfully professed unto they Lord; with him thou shall be blest; when faithless ones with all their vain delights are crying out under their hellish plights, Sing, faithful, sing, and let they name survive, for though they killed thee, thou art yet alive (147).
Allegorical significance of the Vanity Fair:
Allegorically, Vanity Fair represents all the carnal attractions and sensual pleasures. Christian’s and faithful refusal to pay any attention to the merchandise at this fair shows that they have been able to conquer their sensual instincts. They have thus made considerable spiritual progress. They are more interested in things of the spirit then those of flesh. They are interested only in the truth which is to be found in the word faithful is a noble-minded man and he should have been honoured by the people of the town vanity. But the people are themselves vicious and sinful. Such people would naturally become enemy of Faithful. So, faithful is expelled from this world. After the death of Faithful, his soul is taken procession of the angels and put into a chariot. Allegorically, Faithful is taken straight to heaven. As he has sacrificed his life for the sake of his god and the son Jesus Christ, he deserves to be admitted into heaven.
Different persons like Formalist, Hypocrisy, Timorus, Mistrust, Talkative, Ignorance come forward to distract Christian from his journey. They have tried their utmost to tempt Christian but he has firm determination and spiritual strength by which he is able to drive them away and able to reach towards his destination.
Formalist and Hypocrisy
After getting rid of heavy burden, Christian resumes his journey towards CelestialCity. Christian is ready to ascend the Hill Difficulty. Just then, two men named Formalist and Hypocrisy come to Christian in favor of a short cut way. Formalist and Hypocrisy are also ascending the Hill Difficulty but they have come tumbling over the wall on the left hand of the narrow way. They offer Christian a particular way and not to go straight. They try motivate Christian to follow them and for showing their superiority they say –
That to go to the Gate for entrance was by all their countrymen Counted too far about; and therefore their usual way was to make a short cut of it, and to climb over the wall as they had done.(84)
Christian does not become tempted and he does not follow neither Formalist nor Hypocrisy. Christian begins to go up the hill along the narrow and straight way. Formalist and Hypocrisy could not be seen further.
Timorus and Mistrust:
After getting refreshment from pleasant arbour, Christian starts climbing the Hill Difficulty very fast. On the top of the hill, he meets two men named Tomorus and Mistrust come running towards Christian. They are running in the opposite direction and start rousing fear in Christian’s mind. Mistrust starts rousing fear in Christian’s mind by saying that- “For just before us lie a couple of lions in the way, whether sleeping Or waking we know not and we could not think, if we came within reach, but they would presently pull us in pieces.” (87) These speeches are given to tempt Christian not to go ahead. But Christian ignores this temptation go ahead with the parchment roll and finds nothing on the way.
Christian and Faithful are going onward lovingly, they have passed the Valley of the Shadow of Death. They are talking sweetly to each other about all the things that have happed to them during their journey. Talkative appears in the spot, and meets Christian and Faithful. Talkative offers influential speech to them- “I like you wonderful well, for your saying full of conviction ; And I will and, what thing so pleasant’, and what so profitable, as to talk of things of God?” (123) Talkative discloses that he is also going to the celestial city and he wants to be a companion of them. Faithful is very much tempted by the speech of Talkative. But Christian has the capacity to choose right kind of person as his best companion. He knows very well about Talkative and his characteristics. Such kind of person may cause harm in Christian’s further journey. Christian says to Faithful,“This man with whom you are so taken will beguile with this Tongue of his twenty of them that know him not.” (124) Christian also says,“ They say and do not : but the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” (126) After getting no importance, Talkative departs the scene. Allegorically, Mr. Talkative stands for a class of people who are religious hypocrits and dangerous for Puritans. Mr. Talkative’s house is as empty of religion as the white of an egg. There is neither prayer nor sign of repentance over sin in his house. Mr. Talkative is only a talker, not a doer. Faithful and Christian are lucky enough that they are not tempted by Mr. Talkative and are able to drive
After escaping from the prison in the town of Vanity, Christian resumes his journey with a sweet companion named Hopeful. They encounter by a man named Mr. By-ends who is also going to the CelestialCity. Mr. By-ends wants to be a companion of them and he says- I am a stranger to you, and you to me; if you be going this way, I shall be glad of your company; if not, I must be content. (147) Actually, Mr. By-ends is not a pilgrim and he looks religion as a source of earning money. He Is interested in grabbling every kind opportunity that offers itself to him to add to his wealth or his status. In his discussion with Christian and Hopeful, By-ends refers to his native town Fair- speech which is a land of wealthy persons. In his discussion, By-ends discloses about his close relatives (Lord Turn-about, Lord Time-server, Mr.Smooth-man, Mr. Anything) are very much fond of money. Christian knows all of them very well and he knows very well that such kind of man like By- ends may cause harm in his pilgrimage. So he avoids By-ends without any hesitation.
Christian and Hopeful, having been rescued from the DoubtingCastle, continue their journey towards CelestialCity. They are on the way of the Celestial Gate, at that time a man named Mr. Ignorance comes ahead to tempt the pilgrims. Mr. Ignorance wants to be their another companion but Christian is not tempted with his speech. Christian knows very well about Mr. Ignorance and about Mr. Ignorance’s faith which is deceitful, and this faith will leave him under Devine wrath. When Christian and Hopeful reach the CelestialCity, they look behind and see that Ignorance is refused entry into the CelestialCity. Mr. ignorance is seized by a couple of angels and he is sent into Hell.
Christian’s Moral Lesson
After the arrival at the Wicket-Gate, good-will shows the way of the house of Interpreter. Good-will shows Christian a narrow way through which the famous men and prophet Christ have gone. Christian is also informed by good will that when Christian can arrive at the place of deliverance, his burden will automatically fall off his back. However, Christian arrives in the House of the Interpreter. In the house of the Interpreter, Christian is given seven object lessons to strengthen his spiritual life. The Interpreter’s function is the same as the preacher of the Gospel, who vividly interprets God’s message to the Christian.
1. First, the Interpreter shows the picture of a grave man whose eyes are lifted to heaven. The best of books in its hand, the laws of truth is written upon its lips, the world is belied its back and a crown of gold hangs over its head. The Interpreter discloses Christian about the grave man, “The man whose picture this is one of a thousand; he can beget children, travail in birth with children and nurse them himself when they are born” (72). The grave man was very attentive to his Master’s service in his life. He has lead a happy life when he was alive and comes next to have glory for his reward. The Interpreter declares to Christian that man is to be his only true guide. The reason of the picture is that-
The man whose picture this is, is the only man whom the lord of the place whither thou art going north authorized to be thy guide in all difficult places thou misery meet with in the way; wherefore take good heed to what I have showed the and bear well in they mind what thou hast seen. (73)
2.Second, the Interpreter leads Christian to a parlour, where a man is sweeping dust with a broom. A girl pours water on the floor and cleans away the dust. The Interpreter explains, “This parlour is the heart of a man that was never sanctified by the sweet grace of the gospel; that dust is the original sin and inward corruptions that have defiled the whole man”. (73)
This lesson teaches Christian that it is the gospel, not the law, which make the soul clean. The man who sweeps at first is the law and after sweeping the dust flies about that the room. So instead of cleaning the room it is becoming dirtier. When the girl comes with water, who symbolizes the gospel, and starts her work to clean the room. The parlour becomes really clean and the dust is vanished. “This is to show thee that when the gospel comes, in the sweet and precious influences there of to lay the dust by sprinkling the floor with water clean, through the faith of it; and consequently fit for the king of glory to inhabit.” (74) .
3. The interpreter then takes him by the hand into a small room. In this room, Christian sees two boys sitting each in a chair. The name of the elder child is Passion, and the name of the other is patience. Passion seems to the very discontented, but patience is very quite. Christian wants to know about them. The Interpreter answers: “The governor of them would have him stay for his best things till the beginning of the next year, but he will have all now; but patience is willing to wait”. (74)
A little later, a man brings a bag full of treasure and pours the treasure down at the feel of passion picks up the treasure and feels very joyous. At the same time passion starts mocking at patience scornfully. However, passion soon spends all the treasure and is left with nothing but rags. Christian says to himself, “Now I see that patience has the best wisdom, and that upon many accounts. Because he stays for the best things. And also because he will have the glory of his, when the other hath nothing but rags.” (75) The interpreter explains that these two boys are representative figures. Passion represents the men of this world, and patience represent the men of the world which is to come. Passion wants everything’s in the present, in this world. That is what all the man of this world want. They all want the good things in this world. They cannot wait till next year; they cannot wait until the next world to get their share of the good things. Such men waste whatever they get, and are left with nothing but rags. This is the lot of all such men at the end in the world the Interpreter says, “For the things that are seen, are temporal ; but the things that are not seen are eternal”. (75)
4. Fourth, the Interpreter shows a man pouring water on a burning fire, unable to check it. The Interpreter explains it to Christian, “The fire is the world of grace that is wrought in the heart he that casts water upon it, to extinguish and put it out, is the Devil” (76). The Devil is trying to put out the grace in the heart because, behind, there is a man pouring oil on the fire, who symbolizes Christ. The whole scene signifies the unseen grace of Christ which helps to overcome the temptation of the Devil. Here Christian learns that a strong-willed man can overcome the temptation of devil because there is unseen grace of Christ behind him.
5. Fifth, the Interpreter leads Christian to a beautiful palace at the sight of which Christian feels delighted. Christian also sees certain persons walking upon the top of that palace. The persons are all clothed in gold. The Interpreter takes Christian towards the doom of the palace. At the door, there stand a large number of men who want to enter the palace but dare not do so. At a little distance from the door, there sits a man with a book and an inkpot before him. Christian also sees that in doorway stand many armed men to guard it. There men are ready to whatever damage and mischief they do to those who want to enter through the door. Nobody dares to go close to the door because of the fear of those armed men Christian sees.
A man of a very stout countenance come up to the man that sat there to write saying set down my name, sir; which when he had done, he saw the man drown his sword, and put an helmet upon his head and rush toward the door upon the armed men. (77)
The strong willed man is ready to attach the armed men in the place the men retaliate with all their strength. This man does not feel discourage at all. On the contrary, he fights against those armed men most fiercely, and wounds a large number of them, though in the encounter he himself also receives injuries. In this way, he is able to cut his way through all those armed man, and to enter the palace. On entering, the man hears a pleasant voice coming from those who walk upon the top of the palace. They all welcome him in chorus- “Come in, Come in” Eternal Glory thou shalt win (77).
6. Sixth, the Interpreter then leads Christian into a dark room and shows him a sad man in an iron cage. Christian looks on the man who is passing a life misery: “Now the man, to look on, seemed very sad : he sat with his eyes looking down to the ground, his hands folded together, and he sighed as if would break his heart.”(77) During a long discussion, the man reveals to Christian that once he was fair and flourishing professor. He was over confident and sinned against the light of word, and the goodness of God. The man also discloses that, he was tempted by the Devil committed sin of provoking God to anger. As a result he is leading the miserable life.
7. At last, the Interpreter takes Christian into a chamber where a man is rising out of bed. The man describes his frightening dream of the Day of Judgement. He also discloses his mental tensions to Christian that the thundering and lightening in most fearful wise have put him into an agony.
The Interpreter advises Christian, in his future pilgrimage, to remember all the things which he has seen. Being delighted Christian departs the House of Interpreter and resumes his further journey.
It is very much essential to acquire the grace of God and Christ for the Pilgrims in pilgrimage. God and Christ are pleased after seeing the pilgrims who really desire the allegiance of God. God helps these pilgrims who really seek Him and removes all the obstacles, and rescues them from danger. In the novel, The Pilgrim’s Progress, the protagonist Christian who has strong will to remove his burden of sin also gets the grace of God and Christ. Christian gets the divine help in different times, in different forms and in different ways in his pilgrimage and his firm determination leads him towards his success.
Allegiance of Evangelist :
Getting the allegiance of Evangelist is very much significant in Christian’s spiritual journey. Evangelist has shown the way of salvation of Christian’s soul. Evangelist meets Christian almost at the very outset when Christian does not know whether he should go in his distress. After reading his book, Christian begins to look what he will do. Just them he sees a man named Evangelist coming to him. Christian discloses his miserable state of his mind to Evangelist. Evangelist is the man who gives him a parchment roll on which are written the following words: “Flee from the wrath to come”(53). Also, it is Evangelist who gives him direction whether he should flee. Evangelist points with his fingers to a light in the distance and advises Christian of go towards that light. Evangelist says, “keep that light in your eye, and go up directly there to, so shalt thou see the Gate at which, When thou knockest , it shall be told thee what thou sholt do”(53). Accordingly, Christian begins to run towards the light which has pointed out to him by Evangelist.
Evangelist’s Second Meeting with Christian :
According to the instructions of Worldly Wiseman, Christian goes towards the village of Morality and he approaches a high hill from which flashes for light are coming. Christian is at this time in a state of great fear. Evangelist meets Christian for the second time to help him. Evangelist scolds him for having followed the advice of worldly Wiseman. He says that that Worldly Wiseman knows only the doctrine related to the earthly life and nothing about life in the heavenly world. Worldly Wiseman has a carnal temper and a carnal outlook . Evangelist goes an saying about Worldly Wiseman.
From this little Wicket Gate, and from the way thereto hath this wicked man turned thee, to the bringing to thee almost to destruction; hate therefore his turning thee out of the way, and abhor thyself for hearkening to him.(66)
Evangelist discloses that Worldly Wiseman is an alien to the heavenly kingdom, and that Mr. Legality is a cheat. Evangelist further says, “No man was as get ever rid of his burden by him, no, nor ever is like to be: ye cannot be justified by the works of the law,; for by the deeds of the law no man living can be rid of his burden.” (67) At last, Evangelist is able to turn back to the right path towards the wicket–gate, Christian is very much pleased after getting the direction. Next, Evangelist kisses him and wishes him a successful journey. Christian follows Evangelist’s advice and, in due course, arrives at the wicket-gate. Thus, this is the second occasion on which Evangelist does a favor and a service to Christian.
Evangelist’s Third Meeting with Christian:
Evangelist meets Christian for the third time to guide him. Evangelist instructs him which are very much essential for Christian’s further journey. This time, Christian has company of Faithful. Christian and Faithful have just come out of the valley of the shadow of death. Evangelist meets them and greets them with the following words. “ Peace be with you, dearly beloved, and peace be to your helpers”(134) Christian is also very happy to meet his old benefactor, and faithful also feels very happy because Faithful also knows him well. Both Christian and Faithful inform him of all the things which have happened to them respectively since he has last met each of them. Evangelist warns them not to give way to the Devil because they have not yet gone beyond the reach of the Devil. Evangelist says.
Let the kingdom be always before you, and believe stead firstly concerning things that are invisible Let nothing that is on this side the other world get within you; and above all, look well to your own hearts, and to the lusts there of; for they are deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: set your faces like a flint, you have all power in heaven and earth on your side.
Evangelist tells Christian and Faithful that now they are out of the wilderness (namely the valley of the shadow of Death.) Like the preacher of the Gospel Evangelist further says that they would soon enter a town where they would have to face many enemies. Evangelist warns them,
You will soon come into a town that you will by and by see before you, and in that town you will be hardly best with enemies who will strain hard but they will kill you: and be sure that one or both of you must seal the testimony which you hold, with blood (136)
Moreover, Evangelist urges them to remain faithful to God till the very time of death, and says that God would reward them with the crown of life. Evangelist encourages them by saying that whichever of them will be sentenced to death in that town, will have to endure much pain but will reach the celestial city sooner than the survivor. Subsequently, Evangelist’s prophecy proves to be correct because Faithful and Christian suffer much in the Vanity Fair. Here, Faithful is sentenced to death and is carried to heaven by the angels of God.
Allegorical Significance of Evangelist:
Evangelist has played an important role in the spiritual journey of Christian by providing the necessary guidance to Christian. Everyone who wants to develop spiritually and to get nearer to God must seek the guidance of someone who has the necessary knowledge and experience to be able to provide that guidance. An evangelist is a missionary who performs the kind of service which is specified in this story. An evangelist is thus a representative of God or of Jesus Christ. The symbolic significance of Evangelist in this story is thus obvious. On the third occasion, Evangelist makes a prophecy even about an important coming event, namely the martyrdom of one to the two pilgrims in whose welfare he shows a profound interest.
The Friendly Assistance of Help:
Like Evangelist, the man named Help is also the well-wisher of Christian in the latter’s spiritual journey. Christian is accompanied with his neighbor Pliable going towards the wicket gate. But suddenly they fall into a bog named the slough of Despond. They are both badly covered with dirt and mud. Pliable manages to get out of it and goes back home. But Christian, because of burden on his back, begins to sink lower and lower in the slough. Besides, he has no intention to turn back and he wants to continue his journey towards the wicket –gate. Luckily at that time, a kind hearted man named help appears in the spot and sees that Christian is sinking lower and lower in the slough. Help thereupon stretches his hand towards Christian, and pulls him out of the slough. Then Help discloses the significance of the miry slough:
For still as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there arieth in his soul many fear, and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and settle in this place; and this is the reason of the badness of this ground(58)
Christian thanks Help from his soul for rescuing him from the slough of Despond and starts his journey again towards the wicket –gate.
The Help of Good-will:
As a well-wisher of Christian, Good will opens the wicket-gate, rescues Christian from the arrows of Beelzebub and gives fresh instruction to go towards the House of Interpreter.
Christian arrives at the wicket-gate. One the gate are written the following words: “ Knock, and it shall be open unto you. “ Christian knocks at the door several times and a grave looking person named Good-will comes to open the gate. The wicket-gate symbolizes Christ and Christian’s arrival at this gate and his entry through it symbolize Christian’s willing allegiance to Christ. As Christian is stepping inside, Good-will suddenly pulls him back, because,
A little distance from this gate Gate, there is created a strong castle, of which Beelzebub is the captain : from thence both he , and them that are with him, shot arrows at those that come up to this Grate, if happily them may die before they can enter in.(69)
Like a true friend, Good-will has saved Christian from being killed by Beelzebub. So Christian is very much glad to meet Good-will. Not only that, Good-will then gives fresh instructions for Christian’s further journey. Good-will shows him a narrow way through which Christian would have to go.
Look before thee; dost thou see this narrow way,? That is the way thou must go. It was cast up by the patriarchs, prophet, Christ, and his apostles, and it is as straight as a rule can make it . This is the way thou must go.(71)
True friend, Good-will instructs Christian that there are many passages on the way which are crooked and wide. But a stranger would not lose this way if he simply follows the straight and narrow path. Good-will further informs Christian- “As to the burden, be content to bear it, until thou comets to the place of deliverance; for there it will fall from the back itself.” (71)
Thereupon Christian gets ready to set out for the next stage of his journey. Good-will now tells him that, after traveling some distance from the gate, Christian would reach the house interpreter at whose door Christian should knock . All these instructions prove Good-will as a great well –wisher of Christian..
Help of The Three Angels.:
On the way, Christian comes to the wall of salvation and comes close to the cross. The burden on his back becomes loose on his shoulders and it falls off his back. In the meantime, three shining ones appear to Christian as his well-wishers.
The first one salutes Christian and says, ‘ Peace be to thee’. He informs Christian that his sins are forgiven. The second one strips him of his rags and gives him new clothes. The third places a mark on his forehead and gives Christian rolled-up certificate which he will need one day to enter the celestial Gate. After getting all these, Christian gives three leaps for joy and goes on singing—
Thus for did I come leaden with my sin,
Nor could aught ease the grief that I was in,
Till I came hither, What a place is this!
Must here be the beginning of my bliss:?
Must here the burden fall form of my back?
Must here the strings that bound it to me, crabs?
Blessed cross! Blessed sepulchre! Bressed rather be
The man that there was put to shame for me. (84)
In Christian’s further journey when he is ready to ascend the Hill Difficulty, Timorous and Mistrust informs him of two lions who lie along the way. But when Christian ascends the Hill Difficulty with the rolled-up certificate given by the third angel, he finds no lion on the Hill Difficulty.
The Help of the Damsels:
Christian reaches in a palace called Beautiful in which he refreshes his mind. He is there received by several damsels, namely Discretion, Prudence, Piety and Charity. They serve Christian very well and give him necessary instructions for his further journey.
The palace was built by the Lord of the Hill Difficulty. The damsels greet, Christian cordially. “ Come in thou blessed of the Lord;. / This house was built by the Lord of the Hill on / Purpose to entertain such pilgrims in.” (92) Christian is taken in a nice chamber called peace which is nicely decorated – the window of which opens toward the sun-rising .On awaking Christian sings,
Where am I now? Is this the love and care of Jesus, for the men that pilgrims are? Thus to provide! that I should be forgiven!
And dwell already the next door to heaven. (98)
Moreover, Christian is shown many marvelous sights by the damsels. Actually, the Palace Beautiful stands for the congression in a Church or a place where the follower of the lord gather and discuss matters of a religious kind. The four damsels symbolize the four principle virtues which Christianity expects every diadem to cultivate and to acquire .The damsels show Christian a most pleasant mountainous country, beautified with woods, fruits, flowers, springs and fountains .The damsels take Christian to their armory. They give Christian weapons, sword, All-prayer etc. which helps Christian in his further journey. We can see that Christian has used sword to drive away Apollyon and has used All-prayer in the valley to the shadow of Death. When Christian is ready to leave the Palace Beautiful, he is given a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, and a cluster of raisins by the damsels. The service of the damsels draw a fresh image which encourages Christian to go ahead.
Getting the Allegiance of Faithful and Hopeful
Christian, manages to come out of the Valley of the Shadow Of Death and luckily meets his sweet neighbor Faithful who is also going towards CelestialCity. After getting Faithfull in such solitary place as his companion, Christian is very happy. He congratulates Faithful and thanks to God: “My honoured and well beloved brother Faithful, I am glad that I have overtaken you and that God has so tempered our spirits that we can walk as companions in this so pleasant a path”(113)
When Christian and Faithful enter the Vanity fair, they encounter by the traders and the pilgrims are taken to the Judge of Devils. It is Faithful who offers speech in front of the Judge to save Christian and him. Faithful shows his courage by saying, “As for disturbance, I make none, being myself a man of peace; The party that were won to us were won by beholding our truth And innocence, and they are only turned from the worse to the better.” (142) The jury declares that the accused Faithful should be put to death. Faithful’s dead body is then taken to the CelestialCity. In the meantime, Christian manages to escape from the custory of his enemies.
Inspired by the martyrdom of Faithful, another native named Hopeful joins Christian on Christian’s journey. The allegiance of Hopeful is also very significant. When, Christian and Hopeful are caught in the hand of Giant Despair, the pilgrims are forced for committing suicide. Being unable to bear the torture, Christian shows strong leaning towards committing suicide. Hopeful gives him courage: “My brother, let’s be patient, and endure a while; the time may come that may give us a happy release: but let us not be our own murderers.” (166) Hopeful also says to Christian,
Remember thou not how valiant thou hast been heretofore; Apollyon Could not crush thee, nor could all that thou dist hear, or see, or feel In the Valley of the Shadow of Death; what hardship, terror, and Amazement hast thou already gone through, and art thou now nothing But fear? (167)
At last, Christian and Hopeful are able to overcome the situation and able to escape from the DoubtingCastle. It is also Hopeful with whose companion Christian arrives at the CelestialCity.
Part two of The Pilgrim’s Progress describes the pilgrimage of Christian’s wife (who is given the name “Christiana”), her four children and a young girl by the name of mercy. Here also the story takes the form of a dream. First, in his dream, the narrator meets a man by the name of Mr. Sagacity who tells the author all the news from the “city of description” Mr. sagacity informs Christian that Christiana feels very guilty about the manner in which she has blamed her husband for having left his family and gone away on a journey. Christiana tells her sons that originally she has not realized the kind of journey on which her husband has gone. Now, Christiana, her four children and a young girl called mercy set on a journey to the celestial city. The authors dream continues without Mr. Sagacity being present.
The happenings and the difficulties in Christiana’s journey:
Christiana, wife of Christian, understands the necessity to purify herself and understands the importance of the speech of Christian and feels an urge to pilgrimage. Like Christian, she also has experienced many obstacles, wars, evils fears, difficulties etc. But her firm determination is able to conquer all the difficulties towards her spiritual journey. Like Christian, she also proves that one’s firm determination and strong will, brings his or her success and able to touch the goal.
(a) Beginning of Christiana’s journey:
Christiana has already reached the celestial city and Christiana’s thought begins to work in her mind. First, for that she has lost her husband, and for that the loving bond of that relation is utterly broken between them. Then she says to her children, “Sons, we are all undone. I have sinned away your father, and he is gone; he would have had us with him; but I would not go myself; I also have hindered you of life.”(235) With that, the boys fell all into tears, and cry out to go after their father, a man named Mr. secret comes to Christian’s house, and tells her that god is ready to forgive her, and that god now wants to go to him. The visitor, namely Mr. Secret, also tells her that her husband Christian is now living in a heavenly place, and that she can also join him there. Christiana and her four sons gets ready to depart from their house. A neighbor by the name of Mrs. Timorous comes to create obstacle in their pilgrimage. She tries to discourage Christiana in different ways. Mrs. Timorous says to Christiana,
Oh, the madness that has possessed thee and thy husband, to run yourselves upon such difficulties! You have heard, I am sure, what your husband did meet with, even in a manner at the first step that he took on his way, as our neighbor obstinate yet can testify; for he went along with him, yea Ana pliable too. (240)
Mrs. Timorous tries to draw fear in Christiana’s mind. Timorous starts describing the danger which Christian will faced in his journey. So, there is no reason to take such kind of journey. Timorous also says,
“We also heard over and above, how he met with the lions, Apollyon, the Shadow of Death and many other things: nor is the danger he met with at Varity- fair to be forgotten by thee. For if hr, though a man, was so hard put to it, what canst thou being but a poor woman do? (240)
However, Christiana ignores all the temptations. Now another neighbor named Mercy has experienced a strong urge to join Christiana in the journey on which she is going. Christiana is now very glad at heart because she has got a companion and that, like herself, Mercy is keen to attain salvation.
(B) Arrival at the slough of despond:
The two women, accompanied by the four sons of Christiana, arrive at the slough of despond. Christiana stops and says that her husband Christian has suffered much in the place. She also recovers that another neighbor pliable has returned back from the slough of despond. All the despondency of the place never could be mended and they hear these words: “Blessed is she that believeth, for there shall be a performance of the thing that has been told her from the lord.” (246) The despondency of the slough of despond is not able to draw any fear and obstacle in continuing their journey says to Christiana, “Had I as good ground to hope for a loving reception at the wicket gate as you, I think no slough of despond would discourage me.” (246)
(c) Arrival at the wicket gate:
Arriving at the wicket gate is very much significant in Christiana’s pilgrimage. Here, the pilgrims get the permission of continuing their pilgrimage. Christiana, Mercy and the boys arrive at the wicket gate. Christiana knocks at the gate several times. Eventually, they hear the frightening bark of dog. The sight of the barking dog frightens the women and the boys. ”A dog and a great one too and this made the women and children afraid. Nor durst they for a while dare to knock any more, for fear the mastiff should fly upon them.” (247)
The pilgrims could not knock on account of their of the dog ; and they could not go back on account of their fear that the keeper of the gate might see them going away and might feel offended with them. The keeper of the gate opens the gate and becomes astonished after seeing that Christians wife Christiana in her way to the celestial city. They disclose their anxiety, “We are sorry for our sins, and beg of our lord his pardon and further information what we must do.”(249) The pilgrims get further information from the keeper of the gate and he discloses, “My purchased one, I throw, hardest thou known never so much beforehand thou wouldst not a been afraid of a dog.” They resume their journey and Christiana begins to sing, saying: “Blessed be the day that I began A pilgrim for to be; And blessed also be that man That thereto moved me. ” (252)
Many instructive sights shown by the interpreter:
Christiana and her companions arrive at the house of interpreter where the pilgrims are received by a young damsel. Some instructive pictures are shown by the interpreter in the house to strengthen the pilgrims’ spiritual lives. The interpreter takes Christiana and mercy into several rooms one after the other, and shows them certain things which have a great moral significance.
First, the interpreter takes Christiana and her companions into a room where a man is working with a muck-rake in his hand. The man is looking downwards all the time. There stands also one over his head with a celestial crown in his hand, and offers to give him that crown for his muck-take. But the man neither looks up nor regards. But he rakes to himself the straws, the small sticks and dust of the floor. Christiana can guise about the man that he is a figure of a man of this world. The interpreter explains,
Thou hast said the right, said he, and his muck-rake doth show his carnal mind. And whereas thou seest him rather give heed to rake up straws and sticks, and the dust of the floor, than to what he says that calls to him from above with the celestial crown in his hand, it is to show that heaven is but as a fable to same, and that things here are counted the only things substantial.(259)
Next, Christiana and Mercy are taken into another room. In the room they see a very great spider clinging to a wall. The interpreter asks Christiana if there is only one spider in the whole big room. Tears come into Christiana’s eyes, and she says that there are more than one spide in the room. The interpreter says that the other spiders have greater poison them than the one which they could see on the wall. He explains that sin is full of poison. Christiana understands that-
I thought that we were like spiders, and that we looked like ugly creatures, in what fine room so ever we were: but that by this spider, this venomous and ill-favored creature, we were to learn how to act faith, that came not into my mind. (261)
Third, the interpreter takes the pilgrims into another room where they see a hen and her chickens. One of the chickens goes to the trough to drink, and every time she drinks her lifts up her head and her eyes are towards Heaven. The interpreter says to them-
Compare this hen to your king, and these chickens to his obedient ones. For answerable to her, himself has his methods which he walketh in towards his people. By his common call he gives nothing, by his special call, he always has something to give, he has also a brooding voice for them that are under his wing.(261)
Next, the interpreter takes the visitors into slaughter-house where a butcher is killing a sheep. The interpreter advises the two women to learn from this sheep how to suffer and to endure injustices without complaining. The interpreter also says to them that the king (God) may call them his sheep and we should suffer without complaining God.
Christiana and Mercy are then taken into the garden where a great variety of flowers bloom. The interpreter advises them to take lesson. From the flowers and he says to them: “Behold the flowers are drivers in statue, in quality, and color, and smell, and virtue, and some are better them some: also where the gardener has set them, there they stand, and quarrel not one with another.” (262)
Sixth, the women are taken by the interpreter into a field. There are wheat and corn in the field, but here now only the straw remains, the top of the plants having been cut off. The interpreter says again, “Fruit you see is that thing you look for, and for want of that you condemn it to the fire, and to be trodden under foot of men: beware that in this you condemn not your slaves.” (262)
Seventh, the interpreter shows them a little robin holding a great spider in its mouth. Christiana could not imagine how a bird like the robin-redbreast could behave in such a cruel manner. The interpreter says them to think themselves as robins. If they will be sincere to their governor, they could live upon the good man’s crumbs. But when they are by themselves, as the robin, they can catch and gobble up spiders. They can charge their diet, drink iniquity, and swallow down six like water.
After getting all the lessons, the pilgrims are very much pleased and they thank to the lord. He is also the interpreter who appoints a guide named Mr. Great-heart to help in the pilgrim’s further journey.
Guidance of Mr. Great-heart on Christiana’s Further Journey:
Mr. Great-heart is appointed to serve the pilgrims and getting the guidance of Mr. Great-heart proves to be very significant for the pilgrims. Christiana, Mercy and the four boys of Christiana are able to reach the celestial city safely with the help of Mr. Great-heart. He is Mr. Great-heart who has made the way for the pilgrims through the difficulties and fears.
The Hill Difficulty:
Christiana and her companions arrive at the foot of the hill difficulty. The pilgrims are accompanied by Mr. Great-heart. In the hill, they have faced many obstacles. But with the grace of God and the help of Mr. Great-heart, the pilgrims are able to cross the Hill Difficulty. At first, Christiana and her companions refresh themselves in the arbors before climbing up the hill. They know Very well that all good things will come after difficulties. The youngest boy of Christiana has made comments, “That the way to heaven is as a ladder, and the way to hell is as down as hill. But I had rather go up the ladder to life, than down the hill to death.” (278)
The pilgrims are climbing the hill and suddenly they see two lions. Instantly, to save the pilgrims from the difficulty, Mr. Great-heart goes ahead and he draws his sword with intent to make a way for the pilgrims in spite of the lions. Besides, a man named Girm or Bloody-man appears to create obstacle and he would not let anybody go any further. The result is that Mr. Great-heart has to fight against Girm. He is able to defeat Girm, and able to break his helmet and cut off an arm. Now the lions are chained and couldn’t attack the travelers. Christiana and her companions are able to cross the hill difficulty.
Passing Through the Valley of Humiliation:
After getting refreshment in palace Beautiful, the pilgrims resume their journey. The travelers are on the way of the valley of Humiliation with company see that the hill is very steep and the way is slippery. The pilgrims are very much afraid because they know that it is the place where Christian has suffered much and has fight against Apollyon. As a true guide, Mr. Great-heart speaks words of encouragement: “We need not be so afraid of this valley: for here is nothing to hurt us, unless we procure it to ourselves.” (300)
Mr. Great-heart also informs them whatever harm befall pilgrim in this valley is due to the pilgrim’s own folly and error. With the courage the pilgrims go ahead and find that some parts of the valley is the best and most fruitful piece of earth. The pilgrims are able to cross the valley of Humiliation safely.
The Danger in the Valley of the shadow of death:
Christiana and her company enter the valley of the shadow of death. They hear a groaning sound and some words of lamentation. The pilgrims are in a great fear. Suddenly Mercy looks behind and sees a lion coming towards them. “It came a great padding pace after; and it had a hollow voice of roaring and at every roar that it gave, it made the entire valley echo.” (306)
He is Mr. Great-heart who comes forward and gets ready to fight against the lion. But seeing Mr. Great-heart’s air of determination, the lion draws beck and advances no further. The pilgrims next come to a place which is covered by a great mist and when darkness falls upon them who now could not see anything in front of them. Mr. Great-heart advises, “Come, let us pray for light to him that can lighten our darkness, and that can rebuke, not only these, but all the satans in Hell.” (307)
With the grace of God, the pilgrims are able to overcome the situation. Now the pilgrims see a giant named Maul coming towards them to attack. The giant asks Mr. Great-heart why he has once more brought a group of pilgrims to this place. Mr. Great-heart goes forward to face the giant, and draws his sword. Mr. Great-heart says to the giant-
I am a servant of the God of Heaven, my business is to persuade sinners to repentance, I am commanded to do my Endeavour to turn men, women and children, from darkness to light, and from the power of satant to God. (304)
A fierce fight begins between the two. After a fierce battle, Mr. Great-heart is able to inflict a fatal injury upon the giant and fastens the dead giant’s head upon a pillar. The pilgrims are saved one more through the guidance of Mr. Great-heart. The party resumes their journey.
In the Doubting Castle:
Christiana and her party have overcome the Town of Vanity. They are now moving onward and soon they come to By-path Meadow near the Doubting castle. The place is very significant for the pilgrims and, it is the place where Christian and Hopeful leaned to commit suicide. The true guide of the pilgrims, Mr. Great-heart suggests that they should try to kill giant despair who is a great enemy of pilgrims, and who is in the habit of confining his prisoners to Doubting castle. Mr. Great-heart says to them-
And I pray, with whom should I fight this good fight if not with giant despair? I will therefore attempt the taking away of his life and the demolishing of doubting castle.” Then said he,” who will go with me! (250)
Now Mr. Honest and Christiana’s four sons, Mathew, Samuel, James and Joseph come forward to fight against the Giant Despair. Also, he is the savior of the pilgrims, Mr. Great-heart accompanied by them come forward the DoubtingCastle. Mr. Great-heart offers this speech in front of the Giant despair: “And I demand of thee that thou open thy gates for my entrance, prepare thyself also to fight, for o am come to take away thy head, and to demolish Doubting Castle.” (251)
They attack the Giant and after a fierce battle, they are able to kill the Giant Despair and demolish the DoubtingCastle. It is Mr. Great-heart who takes the head of the Giant Despair and sets it upon a pole by the highway. Not only that, in the pilgrims’ Ruther journey Mr. Great-heart as a true guide tells the party about the wicked career of Madam Bubble. Eventually, Mr. Great-heart returns to his master, the interpreter, while most of the pilgrims are summoned to the celestial city by the angels of God.
Christiana, Summoned By the Lord:
Christiana is now accompanied by four sons, four daughters-in-law; Mr. Honest, Mr. Stand-fast and Mr. Great-heart reach the land of Beulah, very close to the celestial city. Here some other pilgrims also join them who want to go to the celestial city. After a few days, a letter comes from the celestial city for Christiana in which she is summoned to enter the celestial city. After a few days later, one-by one most of the pilgrims are summoned except Christiana’s four sons and four daughters-in-law;
It is the wish of Lord God that they should continue to live on the earful in order to breed children and to add to the number of the followers of the church.
Throughout the novel, John Bunyan has reflected the common feeling of guilt that is present in every human being. Human life is full of sin and vice. Human being is bound to be involved in sinful activities because the mind is infected always by the pleasures of the flesh. Besides, devils always try to tempt the man to do sinful activities and to commit sin. But when people can understand their own fault, it is their duty to seek salvation of their soul and they should try to remove their sin. In the process of doing so, he has to overcome all the temptations and obstacles. As the representative of all human being, Christian shows the way to conquer the pleasures of flesh, shows how to overcome all the obstacles, how to conquer the temptations, how to endure sufferings in pilgrimage and how to reach the destination to purify one’s soul. Christian and Christiana have also shown the path by which anyone can enjoy everlasting pleasure. Thus, The Pilgrim’s Progress is very significant as the story of spiritual development and attainment of divine mercy and satisfaction.
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