Quote 5

Apples were they with which we were beguiled,
Yet Sin, not Apples, hath our souls defiled.

This rhymed couplet, spoken by the host Gaius to Christiana’s son over dinner in the Sixth Stage of Part II, demonstrates different ways of interpreting even things as simple as apples. Christiana’s son obviously has been exposed to the Bible since he knows that Adam and Eve committed the first sin by eating forbidden apples. Matthew tries to apply biblical lessons to his own life and live devoutly, and he naturally assumes that apples are evil and that he should avoid them at all costs. But here at dinner, he learns that applying religious lessons to life is more complicated than it seems. Gaius informs Matthew that there is a difference between the apples that Adam and Eve ate and the sin they committed by doing so. In allegory, an apple is sin, but in life apples are simply apples.

Gaius’s poetic meter and fancy word choice set him apart from the simpler souls met by the pilgrims on their journey in Part II. Gaius’s name is also out of the ordinary, being a noble Roman name far removed from the direct descriptions that are applied as names to Great-heart, Feeble-mind, and so on. Gaius seems to belong to another world. He belongs not in a Christian allegory but in a classical Latin poem. In Bunyan’s day a fierce debate raged about the value of the classical Greek and Roman writers. Some claimed these writers were noble and beneficial to humanity. Others claimed they were irreligious and ought to be ignored. Bunyan does not enter directly into this debate, but by making Gaius as strongly Christian as all the other good characters in the book, Bunyan seems to suggest that a character with a Latin-sounding name can contribute a chapter to a devoutly Christian book. When Christiana’s two sons marry Gaius’s two daughters, a marriage of Christian and classical seems underway.