Is allegory alternative to symbol? Contribution to the comprehension of tropes. The use of the terms allegory and symbol was constantly changing in the early periods of literary history. The article argues that later, in the 19th and 20th century, the use of these terms became less a matter of rhetorical figures than of a fundamental attitude towards the world, and shows how Romanticism played a vital role in this process. Goethe and Coleridge were the first to introduce antithetic and evaluative statements into discussions of allegory and symbol, since they distinctly privileged symbol over allegory. Their attitudes stalled the development of a new perception of rhetorical strategies long into the 20th century. The theory of post-structuralism (Paul de Man) has finally shaken this evaluative definition of the two terms with new insights into Romantic poetry and poetics.