Biblical Symbolism of the Wardrobe

C. S. Lewis, his worlds, and his faith.

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Biblical Symbolism of the Wardrobe

Postby DiGoRyKiRkE » Jan 03, 2013 8:55 pm

To commemorate the opening of this new "Man Behind the Wardrobe" forum, I thought I'd open a thread talking about my thoughts of the wardrobe's symbolism, and it's relation to Jack's Faith.

Some points I'd like to draw attention to are the following:

We find out that the wardrobe is made of apple wood. Apples are traditionally seen as the "forbidden fruit" of the Genesis Creation account. I think that this parallel is to draw attention to the original sin of mankind and the route taken to redemption (the route through Narnia to the sacrifice of Aslan).

The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe (paraphrased) wrote:It was almost quite dark in there, and she (Lucy) kept her arm out in front of her to keep her from bumping into the back of the wardrobe.


This darkness could be representative as the darkness of sin, which would make sense when viewed in light of the former statement about the significance of the apple wood. It could also represent our blindness in sin; our helplessness, and how lost we really are.

I think it's also important that as Lucy moves further back into the wardrobe she moves towards the light of the lamppost, rather than further into darkness as one might expect. This, in my opinion, represents the departure away from the darkness of sin, and towards the bright light of Christ.

That being said, it's still dark in the wardrobe, and she has to take one step at a time, avoiding coats (more on that later), which speaks of the faith required to step out into that which we cannot see, trusting that God will take care of the rest of our problems.

The coats meet Lucy's need, and prepare her for her upcoming trek through the wintry realm of Narnia. They are found (logically so) inside the wardrobe, not outside the wardrobe, and, to me, symbolize that God meets our needs as we continue on our journey towards him. That being said, winter is commonly viewed as the harshest season. . . life is not easy, but God provides everything we need to get to Him.

So those are a few of my observations. I'd be interested to hear some of yours. To spur on discussion, I'd be interested in hearing your responses to these questions:

-Why is it significant that Lewis continues to say "You must never shut yourself up in a wardrobe" if these observations are accurate?
-Why is it significant that Edmund is the only Pevensie who really does close the door?
-Why is it important (apart from the thrust and plot of the story) that Lucy has to return to our world away from the lamppost, which if we're following my line of logic, represents Christ's light?
-The Pevensies enter Narnia through the wardrobe a total of 3 times. Does this have any significance? (e.g. Body, soul & spirit. Father, Son, Holy Ghost, etc...) If so, how does this add to the symbolism I've hypothesized above.

There are some bones on which to gnaw ;)). If you guys and gals come up with any other interesting hypotheses or additional questions, feel free to add them to the discussion.
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Re: Biblical Symbolism of the Wardrobe

Postby Louloudi the Centaur » Jan 04, 2013 2:31 pm

To me, the wardrobe is a symbol of something like a gift so small and dark, yet so much more once it was opened up, literally.

When Lucy first opened it and walked in, the wardrobe seemed dusty and full of nothing but coats and moth balls. Nothing extraordinary was seen. However, as Lucy advanced on, the world of Narnia came to her. Here was where the adventure would begin for the Pevensie children. Many lessons would be learned from Aslan Himself.

I'm not exactly sure about shutting the wardrobe/ Edmund, but what I think that meant was along the lines of great gifts should be shared with others. By Christian means, we should share God's love for us. Unlike Edmund, Lucy was wanting to share Narnia with Susan and Peter.

It has been awhile since I have read LWW, so all of this is based off of what I can remember.
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Re: Biblical Symbolism of the Wardrobe

Postby Meltintalle » Feb 05, 2013 6:21 pm

DiGs wrote:-Why is it significant that Lewis continues to say "You must never shut yourself up in a wardrobe" if these observations are accurate?


Perhaps because by shutting yourself into the wardrobe you are refusing to acknowledge where you came from? Edmund denied that the problem was him: it was Peter, Susan, and Lucy who were the sources of irritation and discontent. Narnia was there; he was at the lamppost, but he looked for something else.
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Re: Biblical Symbolism of the Wardrobe

Postby parableproductions » Feb 06, 2013 9:12 am

I am "gnawing" on the ideas you presented DiGoRyKiRkE, and I might come back and post something later.

However, I want to say that I think that Lewis kept saying that it is foolish to shut one's self in a wardrobe - because it is. Back then, there were so many true stories of small children who had died hiding in a refridgerator or some other common device that was impossible to open from the inside (and many wardrobes were like that - although they generally weren't airtight like a refridgerator is). I think that was just Lewis' adult sensibilities coming out - we tend to reinforce those kind of messages whenever we get the chance. (Look both ways before you cross the street, Don't talk to strangers, Don't take candy from strangers, etc.) I think that Lewis didn't want kids to read his book and then crawl in a wardrobe and shut the door looking for Narnia - and the parent not finding them until they were severely dehydrated or worse (if they had a wardrobe that had a catch on it that you couldn't open from the inside).

Even with that approach, it is significant that Edmund was the only one that closed the wardrobe door - he was of the mindset to completely ignore all the good sensable advice given to him from anyone. This made him much more willing to follow the Witch. We are the same, a lot of the time when it comes to the good sound advice we find in Scripture. We tend to think we know better - or that bit of Scripture was just for the people of that time (often when we do this, we don't understand the reason behind it and therefore don't translate it to comparable actions in our life today).

That being said, I will continue to contemplate your take on things and post again later if any thoughts worth sharing come to mind.
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