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Allusion in Romeo and Juliet

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Allusion in Romeo and Juliet

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Shakespeare uses allusion in the play Romeo and Juliet to reinforce the themes of young love and youth being impetuous. Throughout the play Shakespeare uses allusion to reinforce these themes by putting in myths that have tragic ends much like the end of the play.

One myth that Shakespeare uses in the play many times is Cupid and Psyche. Cupid is the Roman god of love. The myth of Cupid is that there was a king that had three daughters and each of them was beautiful but not as much of the youngest Psyche. She was so beautiful that she left the altars of Venus, Cupid’s mother, deserted. Venus then sent out Cupid to punish Psyche for distracting all the men from her and make her fall in love with a hideous man. Instead, when Cupid sees Psyche he shoots himself with the arrow and falls in love with her. Psyche is never allowed to see Cupid but they marry. One day her sisters told Psyche that Cupid was actually a serpent and tells her to sneak a look. When she does this she realizes that Cupid is actually beautiful and Cupid leaves and says he will never see her again. After this Psyche begs for Venus to let her see Cupid again and Venus makes her do almost impossible tasks but succeeds them. After this Cupid asks Zeus to give her immortality so she will not distract mortal men from Venus.

The mythical reference of Cupid and psyche refers to love at first sight between Romeo and Juliet. Cupid has the power to make anyone hit with his arrow to love the next person they see. Romeo and Juliet feel that they were both pierced by Cupid’s arrow when they met. This allusion refers to the theme, love at first sight. This theme is seen in the book as a very powerful theme because over the course of a week Romeo and Juliet create an immense love for each other that cannot be matched. That is how this allusion drives the theme of the play. Another myth that Shakespeare uses in the play is that of Phoebus and Phaeton. The myth of Phoebus and Phaeton is that a young boy who...