I don't have time to say much but I thought it really interesting that this topic has come up!
Lady G wrote:But isn't an 'allegorical' character one who represents something spiritual? Isn't the Stone Table scene allegorical because it represents Jesus in the Bible?
There's more to allegory than this. Yes, Aslan represents Jesus. Lewis wasn't denying that. He made the comparison himself in a few of his letters. I wish The Servant
had quoted more of the letter in question because Lewis really explains himself there. First, he defines allegory as "a composition (whether pictorial or literary) in which immaterial realities are represented by feigned physical objects." Lewis then gives Bunyan's Giant Despair as an example. Is Aslan immaterial? No, for as The Servant
quoted earlier, "If Aslan represented the immaterial Deity in the same way in which Giant Despair represents Despair, he would be an allegorical figure. In reality however he is an invention." Here's the important bit, the difference between supposition and allegory.
Allegory and such supposals differ because they mix the real and the unreal in different ways. Bunyan's picture of Giant Despair does not start from supposal at all. It is not a supposition but a fact that despair can capture and imprison a human soul. What is unreal (fictional) is the giant, the castle, and the dungeon. The Incarnation of Christ in another world is mere supposal: but granted the supposition, He would really have been a physical object in that world as He was in Palestine and His death on the Stone Table would have been a physical event no less than his death on Calvary.
I used to think the Narnian Chronicles were allegorical in some way, but after reading a few of Lewis's letters I see the difference now. Lewis's Aslan is corporeal, not an idea. Bunyan's Giant Despair, however, is an idea, an immaterial reality, given a physical shape. They're not the same. The Narnian Chronicles are more like Lewis retelling the story of Christ via fairy tale, in another world, with many non-biblical figures.
Lewis says in another letter [to Fr. Milward] that allegory is something "(into which one meaning has been put)." Allegory is basically a one-to-one ratio. Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress
is the best example of this. But it doesn't work out that way in Narnia.
***Quotes: letters to Father Peter Milward and Mrs. Hook, Letters of C. S. Lewis: Revised and Enlarged Edition
, ed. Walter Hooper (San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1966, 1993), 458-59, 475-76.