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8/22/2018

A short note on Allusion

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Allusion is an implicit or indirect reference to another work of literature, a historical or Mythological  person or event.

Example:
“Not half so fixed the Trojan could remain,
While Anna begged and Dido raged in vain”
(Pope: “The Rape of the Lock”)

Here is an allusion to the dilemma of Aeneas, the hero of Virgil 's “Aeneid”. Aeneid falls in love with Dido , the Queen of Carthage. Dido implore Aeneas to marry her and get settled permanently in Carthage.  Aeneas was in dilemma . He had a noble duty to find out a new territory for the Trojans. But he was also deeply in love with Dido. He was torn between love and duty. However, he finally decides to continue his voyage in search of a permanent empire for the Trojans. This dilemma of Aeneas has been recalled here to suggest the intensity of Belinda ‘s crisis.

More examples:
“The winged boy I knew;
But who wast thou, O happy , happy dove?”
(Keats: “Ode to Psyche”)
The “winged boy” is an allusion to Cupid, the god of love.
“Perhaps the salfsame song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn”
(Keats: “Ode to a Nightingale”)
These lines allude to the suffering of Ruth, a character of the “Old Testament”.

Here is another example:
“Imagine with thy self, courteous Reader, now often I then wished for the Tongue of Demosthenes or Cicero , that might have enable me to celebrate the praise of my own dear native Country in a Style equal to its Merits and Felicity.”
(Swift:  Gulliver 's Travels , Part II)
The allusion in these lines is to the power of eloquence of Demosthenes And Cicero.

An allusion, which clarifies meaning and suggests a lot in a few words, make a literary work difficult but it enriches its literary quality.

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