Study Guide

I, Robot Allusions

By Isaac Asimov

Allusions

Literary and Philosophical References

  • Descartes (Reason.56), French philosopher, most famous today for his phrase "I think, therefore I am."
  • "Lead on, Macduff" (Runaround.70) is a reference to Shakespeare's play Macbeth, though it is, in fact, a common misquotation.
  • "There grew a little flower 'neath a great oak tree," (Runaround.119) is a line from Ruddigore, a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Gilbert and Sullivan get mentioned again (120, 214, and Catch that Rabbit.16) but the important thing to note is that they wrote a lot of funny operettas in their day. And Speedy seems to know them all.
  • "Lover's professions when uttered in Hessians" (Runaround.189) is a line from Patience, a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.
  • "When you're lying awake with a dismal headache and repose is tabooed—" (Runaround.221) is a line from Iolanthe, another Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.
  • A parsec (Escape.93) is a unit of distance—a very far distance, in fact.