Pilgrims Progress John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegorical story about the Christian religion. It allegorizes the journey of a Christian into “the Celestial City, which represents heaven. Although Pilgrim’s Progress may seem simple and straightforward, there are many deeper meanings throughout the whole story. Bunyan uses the names of his characters to signify whom the character represents in the story, for example, the character Hopeful represents hopefulness, Help represents people who are willing to help others in need of assistance, Faithful represents people who are faithful to whatever they are associated with, and the main character, Christian, represents all young Christians in the world. His journey to the Celestial City is a journey every Christian must face in their lifetime before allowed into heaven. Within his journey there are many obstacles such as temptations both tangible and intangible for instance, the merchandises sold at Vanity Fair and the shortcuts offered, illustrate temptations real Christians must face and overcome; finding an easy way into heaven, and being thrown off course by material things.
The character Christian overcomes many obstacles before reaching his destination, the Celestial City. But during his journey he does not face all these obstacles alone. He meets a variety of people all through his journey to the Celestial City; some of these people mock his traveling to the Celestial City, some decide to follow him, and some help him along his way. Christian meets Faithful who decides to join him on his travels. Faithful is a character that faces many difficulties on his own journey to the Celestial City; his journey has many differences and similarities to the life of Jesus Christ. Faithful first meets Christian while he is upon his journey to save his life. Christian cries out for Faithful to stop and wait so they can be companions along their travel, but Faithful replies, “No, I am upon my life, and the avenger of blood is behind me” (60).
In the story, the life he is trying to save is his real, tangible life. But his running away from the avenger of blood to save his “life” actually symbolizes saving Faithful’s spiritual life. Because he has sinned and broken the Ten Commandment, “You shall not kill,” he is now being chased by death and if caught, he will kill Faithful; this death characterizes the death of eternal life and therefore not being able to enter heaven (Deuteronomy 5:17). In the bible there is a passage that talks about the avenger of blood and who is he. “This is the provision for the manslayer, who by fleeing there may save his life. If anyone kills his neighbor unintentionally without having been at enmity with him in time past ..
he may flee to one of these cities and save his life; lest the avenger of blood in hot anger pursue the manslayer and overtake him” (Deuteronomy 19:4-6). Jesus Christ was born without sin, and never sinned throughout his lifetime. Faithful, however, who although did not try to kill his neighbor, killed him unintentionally and therefore, sinned. Jesus would never have caused pain to any living creatures, neither accidentally nor deliberately. This is one example of how Faithful differs from Christ.
Faith is a large part in a Christian’s life and journey. Faith is also very important for one to overcome evil, corruption, and fear. Along their journey, Christian and Faithful reach Vanity Fair, a fair that sells goods solely based on vanity, such as titles, kingdoms, lusts, pleasures, lives, husbands, wifes, blood, bodies, and souls (78-79). When they first enter the fair, they cause a disturbance because of the way they dress, their speech, their unwillingness to glance at the merchants’ wares, and their answer “We buy the truth” when a merchant asks them what they are interested in buying “(80). Christian and Faithful’s presence at the fair causes such a disruption that they are brought to examination and are asked their origin, their destination, and the reason their unusual dress. Christian and Faithful answers, saying they are pilgrims journeying to “the heavenly Jerusalem” (80). Although these may not be the answers the men at the fair are looking for, they have faith in the word and are not afraid to tell the truth. They are not willing to lie and forget their beliefs because of the possible consequences.
Because of these answers the fair people thought of them as causing chaos and disorder at the fair and therefore beat and placed them into cages so all the men at the fair could watch. Yet again the two were taken to the examiners and were charged of being guilty and “they beat them pitifully, and hanged irons upon them, and led them in chains up and down the Fair, for an example and a terror to others .. “(81). And because Christian and Faithful had a couple of men at the fair on their side, the other men at the fair became even more enraged and ordered them both to death. Even knowing his fate would be death Faithful do not falter in his faith, and continue to believe and be strong.
He is strong in his beliefs and is not afraid to tell of the grace of God when he is on trial. Faithful has three defenses for himself; the first defense he says is “what rule, or laws, or custom, or people, were flat against the Word of God, are diametrically opposite to Christianity;” he’s telling the Judge that the people at the Fair are against Christianity (84). His second statement is that to worship God divine faith and divine revelation of the will of God is needed. Human faith is not enough to get a person eternal life (84). Lastly, Faithful says how the Prince of the Fair is “more fit for being in Hell than in this town and country” (84). The keeper of the Fair along with the merchants will eventually end up in Hell because of their lack of faith in the Lord.
Just like Jesus, Faithful is not afraid to speak the truth no matter what consequences will come out at the end. Faithful’s demise can be compared to the death of Jesus Christ; there are many similarities in their trails and cruel deaths. Both these men knew their impending deaths, both were persecuted because of their religious beliefs, and both were raised into the heaven after their death. Evangelist tells Christian and Faithful that they “will soon come into a town that you will by and by see before you, and in that town you will be hardly beset with enemies who will strain hard but they will kill you: and be sure that one or both of you must seal the testimony which you hold, with blood: but be you faithful unto death, and the King will give you a crown of life” (78). The King in this quote refers to the all-powerful God and the crown of life is the crown of eternal life all Christians will receive upon entering heaven.
Faithful knows that either himself or Christian will die at Vanity Fair, and when his death comes he will be ready. In John chapter fourteen, verse 36, Simon Peter asks Jesus, “Lord where are you going?” “Jesus answered, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow afterward” (John 13:36). Jesus is foreshadowing his own death, which means he knows what the future holds for him. He tells Simon Peter that he is going to heaven soon, but it is not his time yet. While on trial, both men had followers who were opposed to their sentences yet could not do anything without seeing a similar fate.
When Christian and Faithful were in cages for a “spectacle for all the men of the fair” (81). The display of the men is comparable to the display of Jesus on the cross for all to see. Faithful is brought before a judge is found guilty and is sentenced to death. “They therefore brought him out to do with him according to their law; and first they scourged him, then they buffeted him, then they lanced his flesh with knives; after that they stoned him with stones, then pricked him with their swords; and last of all they burned him to ashes at the stake” (86). Faithful’s death and Jesus’s death on the cross are both horrific ways to die. Faithful and Jesus Chris are comparable in the actions and events in their life.
They both had to deal with many obstacles, and eventually paid the ultimate price, death, before entering into heaven. Their faith is an example for all Christians in the world to follow. Do not be afraid to share religion no matter what consequences will come. The small prices that one must pay before reaching their end is small compared to the benefits one receive when he reaches his destination. Both Jesus and Faithful ascend into heaven and receive eternal life after their deaths; the final destination for all Christians Religion.