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 Source Texts for Plot and Characters
- Barnaby Riche, "Apolonius and Silla" (1.4.7, 1.5.47)
- Emanuel Ford, Parismus, (1.4.5, 1.5.47)
- Accademia degli Intronati, Gl' Ingannati(The Deceived Ones) (1.2.4, 2.2.1)
- Niccolò Secchio, Gl' Inganni (The Deceived) (1.2.4, 2.2.1)
- Curzio Gonzaga, Gl' Inganni (The Deceived) (1.2.4, 2.2.1)
- Matteo Bandello, Novelle (translated into the French text Histoires Tragiques by Francoise de Beleforest)
- Plautus, Menechimi
- Note: Secchio's play (1562) and Gonzago's Gl'Inganni (1592) both draw from Gl'Ingannati (1531). Shakespeare had access to at least one, if not all of these works.
Other Literary Allusions
- Francis Petrarch, Il Canzoniere (Song Book) a.k.a. Rime Sparse (Scattered Rhymes), see especially Sonnet 190 (1.1.1) and Sonnet 199 (5.1.17)
- Ovid, Metamorphoses, see especially Book Three, The Transformation of Actaeon (1.1.4)
- Thomas Wyatt, "Whoso List to Hunt" (1.1.4)
- Philip Stubbes, The Anatomy of Abuses (2.2.3)
- Edmund Spenser, Epithalamion (2.4.14)
- Geoffrey Chaucer, Rime of Sir Topas (4.2.1)
- Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Cressida (3.1.12) *Note: Shakespeare wrote his own version of the story c. 1602, around the time Twelfth Night was written and performed.
- Heliodorus, Ethiopica (5.1.15)
Sometimes Shakespeare Gives Himself Props
- William Barentz, Arctic expeditionary c. 1596-7 (3.2.3)
- Robert Brown, Puritan "Brownist" sect founder c. 1581 (3.2.3)
- Pythagoras (4.2.9)
Pop Culture References
- "Peg-a-Ramsey" folk ballad (2.3.10)
- "There Dwelt a Man in Babylon" ballad (2.3.10)
- "Hold Thy Peace" catch (song) (2.3.7)
- " Twelve Days of Christmas" (2.3.11)
- "Farewell Dear Love" lyrics (2.3.13)
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