John Bunyan is a famous writer and he is known for his masterpiece: The Pilgrim’s Progress. The story is an allegory of a struggling Christian. In the novel: Christian encounters many dreams and has conversation with various persons who are represented thematically.
Christian traverses through the valley of despondence. There he encounters various leitmotifs like envy, covetousness, sloth, gluttony and promiscuity. Christian has dialogues with each of them.
What is envy? It is the feeling of jealousy towards another person. Envy has no room in Christian thought and is considered to be a Sin. Envy is personified as a person and it asks Christian whether he has feelings of envy. Yes, and Christian is weighed down by a ton of bricks and asks God to forgive the envy he has towards his neighbors. Envy personified wants to retain that attribute in Christian. Christian overcomes the feeling and continues his journey.
The next encounter is with a person, personified as covetousness. Covetousness asks Christian whether he would like to covet his neighbor’s wife and his neighbor’s possessions. Christian becomes overcome with guilt and asks God for repentance. Covetousness is a quality that is present in most people. Christian philosophy adheres to the view that we have to refrain from covetousness. Covetousness for Christianity is a sin. When I read Christian’s encounter with covetousness, I felt a pang of guilt. I asked God to remove all the blisters if covetousness in me. All who are covetous won’t enter the kingdom of God. Covetousness is a quality that is possessed by Lucifer. Lucifer became overcome with pride and wanted to be God and therefore, he was cast into the hell of fire.
The next personified person that Christian encountered in a dream was sloth. There is a saying that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Christian was asked whether he possessed sloth. Again Christian became remorseful and asked God for forgiveness. Sloth is a Christian taboo. Sloth is sinful and God detests sloth. Those who are slothful won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
The next personified person that Christian encountered with gluttony. Gluttony confronted Christian by saying that he is gluttonous. Yes, I am said Christian; I am a glutton at heart. I penitently seek God’s forgiveness. Gluttony is also a sin in Christian philosophy and gluttons won’t reach the golden throne. Gluttons will be cast down into the lake of fire.
The next personified person that Christian came across was promiscuity. Christian becomes overcome with feelings of guilt and angst. Promiscuity queries Christian whether he has indulged in adultery. Christian feels sorry for the sin of adultery. Adultery is a serious crime in Christian ethics and adulterers would surely not reach the kingdom of God. They will lose the belongings of paradise.
John Bunyan is a brilliant writer and he has set the novel based on Christian virtues. It is a must read for every Christian as it will make a Christian repentant in a soul searching catharsis. The Pilgrim’s progress is a literary master piece and he is brought out the pathos of an ideal Christian caught up with worldly life at the same time wanting to accept Christ into his life.