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Analysis: Allusions

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Major Literary Sources

Literature, Philosophy, and Mythology

  • Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son (1.1)
  • Robin Hood (1.1)
  • Helen of Troy (3.2)
  • Atalanta and her race with Hippomenes (3.2)
  • Lucretia (3.2)
  • Troilus, of Troilus and Cressida (4.1)
  • Hero and Leander (4.1)
  • Cupid (4.1)
  • Noah's ark in Genesis 6-9 (5.4)
  • Christopher Marlowe's Hero and Leander, published 1598 (3.5, 4.1)
  • The death of Christopher Marlowe. Touchstone says "When a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a man's good wit seconded with the forward child understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room" (3.3). Some critics find here a reference to Marlowe's death in 1593. It was held that Marlowe had died ("great reckoning") instantly after being stabbed above the eye during a quarrel over the bill in a pub ("little room"). (Evans, G. Blakemore, The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd ed. 421.)
  • Ganymede from Roman mythology (throughout)

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