2. Romeo and Juliet is full of allusions. Several different allusions can actually
be found in the very first scene. Most of Shakespeare's allusions refer to
either Greek or Roman mythology, and Greek and Roman mythology was
recorded in writing. Therefore, any reference to Greek or Roman mythology
is a literary reference.
Allusion:- is a brief and indirect reference to a person, place, thing or idea of historical,
cultural, literary or political significance. It does not describe in detail the person or thing to
which it refers. It is just a passing comment and the writer expects the reader to possess enough
knowledge to spot the allusion and grasp its importance in a text.
3. Cupid:- is the Roman god of erotic love and is always portrayed as being blind folded. Hence,
we know that this reference to love with a "muffled" view, or blind view, is actually an allusion to
Cupid, he says:
"Alas that love, whose view is muffled still,
Should without eyes see pathways to his will!"
Diana:- was the goddess of both hunting and childbirth. However, ironically, as the goddess of
childbirth, she was also a sworn virgin. Hence, Romeo is saying here that, like Diana, Rosaline
has vowed to remain chaste. Therefore, we see that this reference to "Dian" and "Chastity" is an
allusion to the goddess Diana of Roman mythology.
She hath Dian's wit,
And, in strong proof of chastity well arm'd,
From Love's weak childish bow she lives uharm'd.
4. Aurora:- was the Roman goddess of the dawn. The image portrays the sun drawing the
curtains from the goddess of the dawn's bed.
After Prince Escalus breaks up the whole-city riot, we see Montague talking with Benvolio
about how he is concerned about his son Romeo. One thing Montague says is that Romeo has
been seen at dawn crying morning after morning. He also says that at dawn, Romeo finally
retires to his room to sleep, drawing the curtains. Montague describes the dawn in the lines:
... But all so soon as the all-cheering sun
Should in the farthest East begin to draw
The shady curtains from Aurora's bed... (Act 1, scene 2
The phrase "draw the shady curtains from Aurora's bed" refers to Roman mythology and is
therefore an example of allusion.
"Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds,
Towards Phoebus' lodging,"
Juliet is using Greek mythology to express her eagerness for the day to pass and for night to fall
so that her wedding night can take place. Phoebus Apollo is the sun god, who was believed to
drive his chariot across the sky each night, the chariot representing the setting sun. Similarly,
when she says, "Spread thy close curtain, love-performing night," she is again asking night to
hurry up and come. Not only that, she is referring to night as a dark shroud, or veil, that will
conceal Romeo from being dangerously seen by her family so that they can perform engage in
their wedding night. Act III, Scene II
6. ‘Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud;
Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies,
And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine,
With repetition of my Romeo’s name’
Echo:- In Greek mythology, a mountain nymph, Echo offended the goddess Hera ( Zeus’s wife) by keeping
her in conversation, thus preventing her from spying on one of Zeus’ amours( the god of sun). To punish
Echo, Hera deprived her of speech, except for the ability to repeat the last words of another. She goes to live in a
forest, and she fell in an unrequited love with Narcissus (a handsome son of river god), who deserted her. Then,
she went to a cave and keep repeating his name until she died. When Echo had died, Nemesis( Greek's god) fated
Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection. Narcissus had died and became the Narcissus flower near a pool
Juliet had wanted to see Romeo and had been repeating, ‘My Romeo!’ She wanted to go to the cave where
and make her repeat, ‘My Romeo!’
7. Queen Mab:- an imaginary fairy who brings dreams of people’s fantasies & fears to them as they sleep.
She’s the fairies' midwife. She’s no bigger than the stone on a ring. She rides around in a wagon drawn by tiny little
atoms. The spokes of her wagon are made of spiders' legs. The harnesses are made of the smallest spider webs. The
collars are made out of moonbeams. Her wagon driver is a tiny bug in a gray coat; he’s not half the size of a little
Mercutio's Queen Mab speech parallels the
atmosphere of oppression in the play and Mab
herself can be viewed as representing the
vindictive establishment of Verona that impedes
the young lovers.
8. MERCUTIO:Without his roe, like a dried
herring. O flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified!
Now is he for the numbers that Petrarch flowed
in. Laura to his lady was but a kitchen-
wench— marry, she had a better love to
berhyme her—Dido a dowdy, Cleopatra a
gypsy, Helen and Hero hildings and harlots,
Thisbe a grey eye or so, but not to the
purpose.— Signior Romeo,bonjour! There’s a
French salutation to your French slop. You
gave us the counterfeit fairly last night.
9. Queen Dido is similar to Juliet because she has a strong love toward Aeneas just like Juliet has
toward Romeo. In the story of the city to fulfill his destiny in Italy. This represents Romeos
banishment from Verona which lead Juliet to heartbreak. Because Queen Dido loved Aeneas
she killed herself to get out of the marriage to King Larbus. This foreshadows Juliet's fate in
Act 4, Scene 1. Juliet was forced to marry Paris which leads her to fake her death for her love
Queen Dido:- was Princess of Tyre in. She came to Libya where she founded Carthage, a
great city which Aeneas and his comrades, who had become refugees after the sack of Troy,
visited seven years after the end of the Trojan war. As Queen of Carthage, she received the
Trojans exiles with hospitality, and having given more love than he could take, felt betrayed
when he left for Italy, and committed suicide.
11. Cleopatra was Egypt's pharaoh and had fallen in love with Marc Antony of Rome. When Marc
Antony left Rome for Cleopatra, the Emperor of Rome, Octavious, began his invasion of Egypt.
Marc Antony's fleet eventually fell to Octavious, and Antony fled to Cleopatra; but, believing
she was dead, he stabbed himself. On learning that Cleopatra was still alive, he carried himself
to her and died in front of her. Then, Cleopatra allowed herself to be bitten by a snake and died.
This miscommunication foreshadows the miscommunication in "Romeo and Juliet" when Friar
Lawrence's letter does not reach Romeo, and Romeo, believing Juliet to be dead, rushes off to
12. Thisbe was the young lady in Babylon, while Pyramus was the young man. They loved each
other dearly, but their parents opposed their love. one day, when Thisbe alone in the woods, a lion
came up and attacked Thisbe. Luckily, Thisbe was able to evade the lion, and ran off, leaving a
bloody scarf behind. When Pyramus returned, he grieved for Thisbe, thinking that she had been
devoured by the lion, and stabbed himself. When Thisbe returned, she found Pyramus lying there,
dead. In her grief, she too stabbed herself.
This tragic story links together the fate of Thisbe and Pyramus and the fate of Juliet and Romeo.
Juliet had planned to be carried away to Mantua by Romeo, where they would live together
happily, but a miscommunication occurred, and Romeo believed Juliet to be dead, killing himself;
Juliet, too, then killed herself.
13. Petrarch:- was the famous poet and who inspired love poems. He wrote poems about love
for the lady (Laura) whom he fell in love at the first sight but she had already marred and
died young. Mercutio mocking Romeo that Rosaline is far greater an inspiration to love than the
famous ladies, and descries Laura as a kitchen slave.
14. The allusion to Helen of Troy is foreshadowing because Romeo and Paris both fight over
Juliet just like Menelaus fought Paris over Helen.
Helen:- was the most beautiful woman and the daughter of Zeus and Leda. She Married to
King Menelaus of Sparta and abducted by Paris which caused the Trojan War lasted about ten
15. Hero:- lived as a priestess of Aphrodite in a secluded tower. Leander, who lived across the
strait, saw her and fell in love with her. Every night he would swim the strait to see her. One
night there was a horrible storm as he swam, and he drowned. When Hero found out Leander
died, she threw herself from her tower into the ocean and died.