Symbolism of Narnia in Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

C.S.Lewis created his Chronicles of Narnia for 7 years. The first Narnia book is “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. The central event of the story is the traveling to the Fairyland Narnia, where children can become kings and heroes, where animals can talk and good defeats evil. For children who left London to avoid threat of bombing during World War 2 the adventure in Narnia is a great life experience that gave them an understanding what is good and  how difficult is to be responsible for the fortunes of the whole land, nation and own family. Symbolism of Narnia refers to the Christian values, religious plots and mythology.

C.S.Lewis dedicated ”The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” to the real girl Lucy. Since childhood he dreamt about the fairy land.  During World War 2 he got an opportunity to communicate with children and to begin to write about Narnia.He gave a way for his dreams and fantasies to get to the world of his own. Narnia symbolizes a paradise for Lewis. The fairyland he imagines in his mind as the perfect place to live a virtuous life, but also full of adventures, miracles and mysteries.[1]

On the one hand the way of life in Narnia is the same as in our world. In Narnia they are praising Got and Heavens as we do. “Goodness gracious me!” exclaimed the Faun”[2]. This makes a fairyland similar to our world. On the other it is magic and unreal, because of speaking animals, spirits of trees, endless winter and sorcery. “And she has made a magic so that it is always winter in Narnia – always winter, but it never gets to Christmas.”[3] Narnia has a very specific geographical position too: “Narnia? What’s that?” said Lucy. “This is the land of Narnia,”said the Faun, “where we are now, all that lies between the lamp-post and the great castle of Cair Paravel on the Eastern Sea…”[4] The world of a fairy tale is strongly contrasted to the ordinary existence. Real life is perfectly uneventful, while Narnia is waiting for people to perform great deeds and reign there.

In “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” we face personages taken from different cultures. Fauns, satyrs, nymphs, centaurs, gnomes and giants inhabit Narnia. This land is a combination of all the things children and adults consider interesting, gripping and mysterious. The centuries-long history of art, religion and mythology proves that everyone has his own Narnia in his mind. People usually look for better reality in the world of fantasy.

In Narnia they look upon strength and goodness as the chief factors shaping human existence. This land is a place where it is possible to see good and evil as they are .Under the poisonous influence of schoolmates and then – the White Witch, Edmund lost his positive characteristics, betrayed his sisters and brother and could sink deeper and deeper into vice, but  fortunately took the side of Aslan and turned to a brave hero. Narnia is an example that helps young readers to realize that good always gains a victory over evil.

From the biography of the author we know that Christianity was a central aspect of his life.[5] Associations that come to the reader’s mind in connection with the King of Beasts – Aslan refer to Jesus Christ. Within a very few pages the reader gets a vivid notion of the Lord of woods. “Aslan a man!” Mr. Beaver said sternly.”Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the Sea…”[6] Aslan sacrifices himself to save Narnia from outrages of White Witch and helps to avoid Edmund’s death as a traitor. Then a miracle happens – he rises from the dead. “…when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”[7] Before Aslan”s arrival Father Christmas comes to give Christmas presents and congratulations to everyone in Narnia. Aslan brought a holiday and spring to Narnia. Lion Aslan is the embodiment of the blessing and justice. Adam and Eve, the most known Bible characters are also mentioned in the book. Children who came to Narnia through the wardrobe are referred  to as sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.

C.S.Lewis used allegory to show to the young readers the principles of virtuous life, Christian values and history. The aim of the author was to draw attention to the religious plots used in his tale. Sometimes we seek escape from reality in the world of legends and mysteries. Narnia symbolizes a dream of adventures, nature, beauty and justice.

Works cited:

Lewis C.S.The Chronicles of Narnia (Adult Edition).Boston: Zondervan, 2004.

Wilson A.N. C.S. Lewis: A Biography. New York: Norton, 2002.

[1] Wilson A.N. C.S. Lewis: A Biography. New York: Norton, 2002: 40-45.

[2] C.S.Lewis.The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Chapter 1: Lucy Looks into a Wardrobe: 15

[3]  C.S.Lewis.The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Chapter 4: Turkish Delight: 51.

[4] C.S.Lewis.The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Chapter 2: What Lucy Found There: 29.

[5]  Wilson A.N. C.S. Lewis: A Biography. New York: Norton, 2002: 17-22.

[6] C.S.Lewis.The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Chapter 7: A Day with the Beavers: 87.

[7] C.S.Lewis.The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Chapter 15: Deeper Magic from Before the Dawn of Time: 189.

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