The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, is an allegory written by C.S Lewis. An allegory can be defined as a literary composition in which spiritual realities are represented directly by material objects.
This fantasy novel is meant for reading by children theologians and students. The story is about four children Peter, Edmund, Lucy and Susan. The children leave London abruptly because of air raid. Their parents were also engaged in the war and therefore they were sent to their mother’s relation, an old Professor living in the countryside by himself. (Downing, 2005)
Finding life boring, the children resort to playing hide and seek. Lucy hides in a large wardrobe at the back of the wardrobe she gets into the land of Narnia which is inhabited by creatures. Such as Aslan, the lion and the evil White Witch. There exists a prophecy in the world of Narnia that states that four children will bring winter to an end and also terminate the evil rule of the White Witch. The eventual entry of the four children into the land of Narnia precipitates a clash between good and evil forces. Goodness prevails and the children go back to their real world through the wardrobe.
Christianity largely influenced Lewis story. The passion of Christ and His eventual resurrection are reflected in Aslan-the Lion Character. The decision by Aslan to be killed instead of Edmund symbolizes Christ’s willing sacrifice to die on the cross for mankind’s sins.
Themes can be defined as the main idea in a context of a literary work The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe has many themes that come up;
The Danger of Gluttony
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe focuses on gluttony as one of the prominent themes. Edmund consumes, the magic Turkish Delight which leads him to descent into the service of the White Witch. It is unfair to hold Edmund responsible for his gluttony because this was due to the influence of the enchanted Turkish Delight. The theme of gluttony is made more pronounced when after leaving the White Witch’s house, Edmund continues to be enticed to the Turkish Delight.(Downing, 2005)
It is worth noting that the consumption of the Turkish delight by Edmund can also be a direct reference to Adam and Eve sinful act when they were enticed to eat from the tree of knowledge. God punishes Adam and Eve because of the sin of consumption. Edmund’s gluttony and desire for the Turkish Delight relates to Adam and Eve’s desire of eating the apple.(Veith, 2005)
The Victory of Good over Evil
Lewis bases his views on good and evil on the doctrine of the fall in the bible which depicts the fall from grace by Adam and Eve due to their disobedience to God. This fall in grace was only rectified through the redemption by Jesus Christ. (Lewis, 1950)
Adam and Eve yielded to the serpent’s temptation and thereby introducing sin into the world. (The Bible,1984) The author shows the nature of sin through the White Witch’s character in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The nature of goodness is embodied in the lion character-Aslan.
Edmund is portrayed as a traitor whose life is forfeited to the White Witch. This is in direct reference on how a sinner’s life after death is governed by Satan. The White Witch though not not as evil as would be expected of Satan himself represents an agent of Satan and she has her own powers including casting the land of Narnia to hundred years of winter but no Christmas and also turning the creatures who disobeyed her into stone. She ruled the land of Narnia wth an Iron fist as the evil queen.
Redemption of Mankind
The on goings in Narnia has a lot of similarities to the story of Jesus. Edmund’s life is saved through the sacrifice of Aslan. The same way Christ was sacrificed to save humanity from sin. Edmund’s sin is expunged through Aslan’s death and he is allowed to live. Similarly, man can now live in heaven after Christ’s death which removed Adam’s original sin occasioned by his disobeying of God..
This theme is conveyed in both the Spiritual and physical ways. Spiritual awakening is portrayed through Aslan’s awakening to a new life because the Deeper Magic after being killed by the White Witch. On the pjysical front, the children’s entry via the wardrobe in the land of Narnia where they live for years and grow up while in actual essence they have just been gone for a few minutes as per their usual world, our world-is itself an awakening to a new form of life. A new world that they had never known existed is revealed to them.
This theme is exhibited when both Edmund and Peter show remarkable acts of bravery in the battle. Peter kills the grey wolf while Edmund whows courage when he smashes the hand of the White Witch in the last battle. Aslan exhibits a lot of courage by facing death in place of Edmund.
After betraying his siblings and siding with the White Witch, Edmund atones for his sins and experiences a complete character transformation.
Edmund is forgiven for his waywardness by his siblings and Aslan. They let the past be by gones. Aslant shows forgiveness by offering himself to die in place of Edmund. He strongly believes that it is worth dying for Edmund’s life irrespective of his past mistakes. The Author shows that he believes the relationships ae healed and strengthened through forgiveness.
Lucy and Mr. Tumnus, a faun-which refers to a creature in myths that has goats lower body and a man’s upper body, are true friends. This is strongly supported by Lucy giving her handkerchief, and also MR. Tumnus not accepting to betray his new found friend to the White Witch.
Friendship and loyalty as a theme is also exemplified through the characters played by Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, who escort the children to the stone table where they are able to find Aslan.
Making sacrifices for others
In the novel The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, many characters make personal sacrifices for the sake of others. By housing Lucy, Mr. Tumnus gives up his guard against the White Witch and he is turned into a stone statuette. Aslan on the other hand makes the ultimate sacrifice by choosing to die in place of Edmund.
Instead of going back to the wardrobe and forsaking Narnia in the grip of evil by the White Witch, the children endanger their lives to fight for what is good.
Logic and Faith
When Susan and Peter share their concerns with the professor about Lucy’s story of Narnia, the professor helps them logically to underst and that Lucy is truthful and has not gone mad. Acceptances of these logical conclusions require faith.
This is a fairy children’s story. The childhood theme can be seen when Lucy is curious about the wardrobe and with innocent curiosity the children travel to Narnia, Lucy maintaining childlike, delightful quality. The character of Lucy is innocent; Lewis shows us the importance of having the attributes of loyalty, truthfulness and having genuine faith.
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Portrays a Christian view of the world through use of mythic tale. This takes place in magical world called Narnia whre evry imaginable creature comes alive. Mythical elements in the story are used to show a bigger story but not for conveying falsehood in reality.
The story presents a biblical portrait of Jesus Christ through the character of Aslan.
It is therefore correct to conclude that The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe successfully presents the Christian gospel in powerful and spiritual way in which children as well as adults can relate to.
Downing, David C. Into the Wardrobe: C.S. Lewis and the Narnia Chronicles.
Lewis, C.S. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. London: Geoffrey Bles. (1950) Veith, Gene Edward. The Soul of the Lion, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
David C. (2005)
New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. Pennsylvania: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (1984) Genesis 3:1-7