Symbolism is defined as something that is itself and also stands for something else. "In a literary sense a symbol combines a literal and sensuous quality with an abstract or suggestive aspect Literary symbols are of two broad types: One includes those embodying universal suggestions of meaning, as flowing water suggests time and eternity, a voyage suggests life. Such symbols are used widely (and sometimes unconsciously) in literature." (www.Theology.com/symbolism) Symbolism is widely employed in some literary works, where it plays an important role. Besides, it has a long tradition in English literature. In the case of symbolism, we can get different meanings from different perspectives. It can be referred to the representation of things by use of symbols, especially in fine art or literature; it can be defined as a system of symbols or representations. .
Warren uses symbolism in All The Kings Men by comparing his story to that of a classical tragedy. A tragedy, by definition, is an action that stimulates the emotions of pity and fear in a form in which the action is single and complete. A tragedy also represents a reversal of fortune, such as the one seen in Romeo and Juliet. In tragedies a chorus is someone or something that symbolizes the common people. It is through this symbolic figure that we see the story unfold. .
In All The Kings Men, Warren has created the classic tragic hero in Willie Stark. Stark symbolizes the "hero" role because he is able to achieve things most normal people cannot. In instances where other people have failed to establish reforms with great results, Willie Stark succeeds. It is in this instance that we see the symbolism of a tragic hero and a super-human. Stark is at face what everyone wants in a politician, one who creates a better way of life for his people by passing laws, cleaning up public areas, and creates his own legacy that will be left behind for someone else to try and fill the void created by his absence.