What do gargoyles represent?


Quick Answer

Gargoyles were originally used as water spouts on religious buildings, but quickly came to be seen as a way to ward off evil spirits because of their grotesque look. The gargoyles' grotesque look was modeled off of the idea of hell, and was used as a way to help illiterate people understand what hell was and what it could do to a person.

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Full Answer

Gargoyles serve as a reminder to always do the right thing and to follow the word of God so as not to go to hell. Gargoyles are usually monsters that are half beast and half man. They are often depicted eating or harming humans. Most gargoyles were carved in Western Europe during the 10th and 15th centuries.

When the gargoyles were used as water spouts on buildings, most of the figures would have open mouths so that the water could flow through. They helped to clear rain water from the building. In fact, the word gargoyle means "throat" and comes from the Middle English and Old French languages. It was first used around 1250-1300.

The gargoyles were also often designed in ways that imitated European paganism. They could be seen with disembodied heads and with different species combinations. They also sometimes used crude sexual imagery as a way to showcase the evil of pagan fertility rituals.

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