What is the significance of using symbols in poetry?
The symbols in poetry are used to express complex, mixed and intense feelings. A poet consciously or unconsciously transfers his personal and subjective meaning to a concrete object or an image.
What is a symbol?
The term symbol is defined from the Greek word 'symbolon' meaning mark, token or sign. It is an animate or inanimate object signifying or standing for some other thing. A symbol is different from the allegorical sign that is used in poetry. The major difference between the two is a symbol is explicit, whereas in allegory, the meaning is implicit, and often they can be understood through the interpretive process.
The typical example of a symbol is the lion that symbolizes strength and dove that symbolizes peace. The black colour is a symbol of evil, and a broken mirror suggests separation, etc. The process of transference of personal ( subjective) meaning on to a concrete image or object is called symbolic mode.
(Students may read the "Divine Comedy" By Dante or "The Winding Stair" by WB Yeats to know how the pioneers were so excelled in writing poetries of that era for better usage of symbols in poetry).