Romantic Ideas in the Allegory Watership Down
The novel Watership Down by Richard Adams, like Edmund Spencer's The Faerie Queene, is an allegory. Watership Down also embodies many romantic ideas. Fiver, a rabbit who sees visions from Frith, represents the turn toward imagination that occurred in the Romantic period. The rabbits in the novel also value freedom and rebellion against tyranny, two important Romantic ideas. Many of the rabbits that left the Sandleford warren were unhappy with authority there, and the Watership Down warren helped the rebellion against Efrafa. Hyzenthlay, a doe in Efrafa, questions authority and longs for freedom from tyranny. She embodies the individualism valued in the Romantic period and, like Fiver, sees visions from Frith. The rabbits in the novel search for better ways to live- another important Romantic idea. Fiver leads the search. "I know what we ought to be looking for - a high, lonely place with dry soil, where rabbits can see and hear all round and men hardly ever come. Wouldn't that be worth a journey?” (Adams 48)
Watership Down is an allegory, "a story in which the characters, settings and events stand for abstract or moral concepts” (Sime 1189). The different warrens in Watership Down represent different types of government. Efrafa, a warren run by General Woundwort, is a totalitarian government where the military class rules and the others are oppressed, much like the Khrushchev era in the USSR. In The Faerie Queene, each main character represents a heroic quality. In the epic poem of knights, dragons and ladies, each part represented a heroic quality that embodied a noble person.
During the Romantic period, people "turned away from the... emphasis on reason and artifice. The Romantics embraced imagination and naturalness.” (Sims 630). Fiver, a rabbit from the Sandleford warren, is an example of this Romantic philosophy in the novel. Fiver has an uncanny sense f...