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I'm searching for a good antonym for "symbolic."

I'd be using it in a sentence like:

In Beowulf, the different manifestations of courage, both symbolic and actualized, present an area of synthesis between the real and the imagined.

Is "actualized" a good antonym for symbolic? I've also considered "applied" and "action-based." The above is just a throwaway sentence.

Edit: I suppose I'm trying to get at the difference between courage symbolized through an object and courage performed through a valiant act.

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    Please include the research you’ve done, or consider if your question suits our English Language Learners site better. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. – Hot Licks Apr 1 '18 at 20:54
  • I also have issues with the excerpt - although that might be just a personal thing it does get in the way of the question posed in the title - I might consider symbolic/concrete or symbolic/'face-value' symbolic/reality for a couple suggestions – Tom22 Apr 1 '18 at 22:05
  • @RobbieGoodwin OP is asking for an antonym of symbolic, not a synonym, so it makes sense that "actualized" means the opposite of "symbolic". – Kat Apr 1 '18 at 22:43
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    @spicymage What did a thesaurus suggest? – Mitch Apr 2 '18 at 0:45
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    Maybe, just maybe you should edit your question to explain what you're really asking. "Symbolic" is a poor synonym for the word you want the antonym of. – Hot Licks Apr 2 '18 at 0:51
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Literal, according to Oxford Dictionaries:

Taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or exaggeration.

Free from exaggeration or distortion.

Attribution: "Literal | Definition of Literal in English by Oxford Dictionaries." Oxford Dictionaries | English. Accessed April 01, 2018. https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/literal.

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I think you're on the right track with actualized, but perhaps actual would be even better (besides, I really like how it sounds). According to WikiDiff, actualized is a verb, while actual is an adjective. So that would be in agreement with symbolic (also an adjective).

  • In Beowulf, the different manifestations of courage, both symbolic and actual, present an area of synthesis between the real and the imagined.
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Demonstrative, according to Oxford Dictionaries:

Involving demonstration, especially by scientific means.

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"actualized" - no, "actual" - maybe.

Other options for it in your sentence are direct, unsymbolic, or nonrepresentative.