What Symbols Are Linked to the Seven Deadly Sins?



The seven deadly sins are commonly referred to as envy, lust, greed, wrath, sloth, and gluttony. However, what you may not realise is that they do not originate from the Bible. In fact, they were created by the Greek monk Evagrius Ponticus thousands of years ago. Later, one of his students introduced them to the Christian church, which spread our now-traditional view of the sins, as well as the notion that committing one of these sins would result in the loss of one’s soul.

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Meanings of the 7 Deadly Sins

Here, we will examine each of the seven deadly sins in greater depth by unpacking their meanings, origins, and folklore, popular culture, and other literary examples.

Jealousy | Symbolism & Meaning

Envy involves desiring or coveting something that others have and you do not. Often, dogs and snakes are associated with envy, as is the colour green; hence, the popular expression “you’re so green with envy.”

Cain and Abel is one of the most well-known stories about envy. In the story, one brother was cherished while the other was neglected. The brother who was overlooked became envious of his sibling’s success and ultimately murdered him.

| Symbolism & Meaning of Lust

When you are overcome with lust, you are committing the sin of lust. Cows and snakes are among the animals associated with lust, while the colour blue is commonly associated with the sin, as people are said to experience melancholy in its aftermath.

Lust can be found almost anywhere; in fact, a character’s curiosity often leads to lust. In some interpretations of the biblical story of Adam and Eve, the forbidden fruit represents lust.

Covetousness | Symbolism & Meaning

Similar to envy, greed involves desiring what one does not have. However, the primary distinction is that greedy people actually obtain these things, and as a result, greed is commonly associated with materialism and selfishness. The frog is the unofficial symbol of greed. Due to its similarity to gold, yellow is the hue most commonly associated with greed.

Greed is a prevalent theme in folk tales. You may recall the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, in which a greedy king locks up the miller’s daughter in order to amass more and more gold. In addition, the Brothers Grimm frequently examined the impact of greed on human life. Scrooge McDuck and Mr. Burns from The Simpsons are also caricatures of greed in contemporary fiction.

Anger | Symbolism & Meaning

A lack of self-control causes rage, an intense emotion that can lead to violence. Red is the colour associated with the bear, which represents wrath. Red and the bear both represent passion, aggression, and rage.

The Iliad by Homer is the ideal literary example of wrath. Achilles, upon realising what he has done, is filled with dreadful regret. Achilles initially believed he was doing the right thing, but he later realised how many people he had harmed through his anger.

Laziness | Symbolism & Meaning

Sloth is commonly associated with doing nothing, but it can also accompany procrastination. That is, being intentionally unproductive instead of doing things that are good for you is considered a sin by some Christians. You would expect the animal symbol for the sin of sloth to be the sloth, right? It is the goat. In addition, the colour associated with sloth is light blue, which represents daydreaming.

Lazy Heinz is a popular folktale by the Brothers Grimm that tells the story of a boy who never wanted to do anything and, as a result, never accomplished anything. Moreover, laziness is frequently portrayed as an unattractive trait in popular culture.

Gluttony | Symbolism and Meaning

When you overindulge, you commit the sin of gluttony. Gluttony can also refer to the acquisition of too many material possessions or pleasurable items. The animal most commonly associated with gluttony is the pig, while the colour of the vice is orange. Orange is commonly used in fast food restaurants because it is believed to stimulate appetite, which can lead to gluttony.

A common theme in many fairy tales, including Jack and the Beanstalk, is gluttony. Remember the ravenous monster? He symbolises gluttony. Hansel and Gretel is another example of gluttony, as the title characters cannot stop eating a candy house. Of course, it turns out that the homeowner is a witch, who wants to eat the children as a consequence for their gluttonous behaviour.

The Symbolism of Proudness

The sin of pride is associated with inflated egos and inflated self-esteem. Those with an unhealthy amount of pride frequently lack self-awareness. The horse, the lion, and the peacock are all associated with pride. In addition, the sin is symbolised by the colour purple, historically the colour of royalty.

One of the most well-known biblical stories about pride involves the angel Lucifer, who was allegedly overly concerned with his appearance. According to some interpretations, his pride ultimately corrupted him, transforming him into Satan.

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