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 was the son of Phoebus thought he could do anything and was very impatient. One day the children at his school made fun of him and told him he couldn’t do everything. He went home to his mother and asked if he could do everything and she said yes because he was the son of the sun god Phoebus. She then told Phaeton to go ask Phoebus if he could do everything. He went to him and asked if he could do everything. Phoebus then promised him to let him do anything he wanted to try. Phaeton said he wanted to drive the chariot of the sun for one day. Phoebus then tries to get Phaeton to try something else but he refuses. He then goes on to say he will drive the chariot. Immediately after getting into the chariot Phaeton loses control of the horses because they knew it was not their master and did what they pleased. After a while of the horses wreaking havoc on the earth, Zeus struck down Phaeton and killed him and the horses immediately stopped.

The allusion to Phaeton and Phoebus helps drive the theme that youth is impetuous. The reason why this allusion supports one of the themes of the book is because in the play Romeo and Juliet both never thought about what they were about to go through with and how it might affect their lives. In the myth Phaeton never realizes that his father may be right in not letting him ride the chariot because it is extremely dangerous to someone with no experience. All of the characters in the story that were impetuous had early demises because of there impulsivity and having no regard of the repercussions of what may happen to them. Impetuousness also led to the demise of Tybalt and Mercutio in the play by them not thinking of the dangers if they fought. Those are the reasons why the allusion drives the theme of the play. Another allusion that Shakespeare uses in the play is the myth of Echo and Narcissus. The myth of Echo is that she is a nymph who loves to talk and is always talking and always has to get the last word in. One day Hera...
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