My senior thesis project is titled The Allegories of Subjugation. In six 16” x 20” digital paintings, I explore six different forces of humanity that cause human suffering: Brutality, Repression, Desecration, Neurosis, Avarice, and Addiction. With the use of allegory (a metaphorical narrative represented pictorially) I communicate the sentiment that moments of human suffering are not isolated incidents, and there is a level of social responsibility called for in reaction to human suffering whether it is acknowledged or not.
In my paper I explore the connection between allegory and social responsibility. I begin this inquiry by defining what an allegory, and looking at how humanity de-fines suffering from the viewpoints of philosophy and religion. I then examine the history of the allegorical portrayal of human suffering. For a contemporary perspective on allegorical portrayals of suffering, I look at four different graphic novels. I then examine my own thesis project The Allegories of Subjugation as my personal contribution to the evolution of allegory in art. I conclude the paper by questioning the need for allegorical devices to garner empathy.