The Allegory of the Forbidden Fruit

18 Oct

Momotaro’s story depicts a food, “millet dumplings,” as being “mythic” as it empowers Momotaro and his three animal companions to conquer an island inhabited by ogres.  He uses the idea of “mythical” or “propagandic” food to tell a story that has a deeper allegoric meaning: a parable.

Something I recently read in the Old Testament for my History of the Jewish bible class closely relates to this topic. In the book of Genesis, there is much discussion about a “forbidden fruit,” which is often represented as an apple. In the story, G-d tells Adam and Eve they are allowed to eat anything in the Garden of Eden that they want, except for the forbidden fruit, which grows on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eventually, Adam and Eve succumb to temptation, and Eve takes a bite of the fruit and gives the rest to her husband. For this they are severely punished, deprived of their innocence and exiled from the Garden of Eden. The mythical quality of the apple and Adam and Eve’s decision to eat it represents the human desire to have something that they know they cannot or should not have. G-d was testing Adam and Eve by forbidding them to eat one specific fruit, and unfortunately they failed the test due to natural human tendencies; such as desiring the forbidden. Had G-d forbade them to eat a different fruit, not an apple but a pear, they would eventually be overcome with temptation and have to try it. Here it is not the food at hand that is significant, but the “mythical” qualities attributed to it.  The story is a metaphor for any indulgence or pleasure that is considered illegal or immoral and potentially dangerous or harmful.

3 Responses to “The Allegory of the Forbidden Fruit”

  1. edibleeducation October 18, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

    yes! i was hoping for this one. the way this fruit has been re-purposed to serve the cultural myths of today (see Apple Computer) is also quite fascinating…

  2. careyzha October 18, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

    Ah! Sorry! I didn’t see this post until after I had already written my blog and published it.

  3. edibleeducation October 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm #

    that’s cool…you don’t have to avoid the subjects other people use. i’m sure you’ll have your own take. yours is actually a different interpretation, when a reader compares the 2. that’s the thing with folklore/myth–the plot points are similar, but the versions are different.

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