Artboard Created with Sketch. Close Search Dialog
! Error Created with Sketch.

Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare

Allusions

Main ideas Allusions

Act 1, scene 1

Mythological

But all so soon as the all-cheering sun Should in the farthest east begin to draw The shady curtain from Aurora’s bed[.] (1.1.124–126)

This is an allusion to Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn.

Mythological

Well, in that hit you miss. She’ll not be hit With Cupid’s arrow. She hath Dian’s wit. (1.1.199–200)

This quote contains two allusions: Cupid is the Roman god of desire and erotic love, and Dian (also called Diana) is the Roman goddess of virginity and hunting.

Act 1, scene 4

Mythological

We’ll have no Cupid hoodwinked with a scarf[.] (1.4.4)

This is an allusion to Cupid, the Roman god of desire and erotic love.

Mythological

You are a lover. Borrow Cupid’s wings[.] (1.4.17)

This is an allusion to Cupid, the Roman god of desire and erotic love.

Literary

Oh, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you. (1.4.53)

This is an allusion to Queen Mab, the queen of the fairies in English folklore.

Act 2, scene 1

Mythological

Speak to my gossip Venus one fair word[.] (2.1.11)

This is an allusion to Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

Religious/Mythological

Young Abraham Cupid, he that shot so true[.] (2.1.13)

This quote contains two allusions: Abraham, in the Judeo-Christian bible, lived to be a very old man, and Cupid, the Roman god of desire and erotic love, was portrayed as a boy despite being one of the oldest gods.

Literary

When King Cophetua loved the beggar maid. (2.1.14)

This is an allusion to a legend about an African king, King Cophetua, who falls in love with a beggar woman.

Act 2, scene 2

Mythological

At lovers’ perjuries, They say, Jove laughs. (2.2.92–93)

This is an allusion to Jove, also called Jupiter, the king of the Roman gods.

Mythological

Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies[.] (2.2.164)

This is an allusion to Echo, a mountain nymph in Greek mythology, who was cursed to only be able to repeat others’ words.

Act 2, scene 3

Mythological

From forth a day’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels. (2.3.4)

This is an allusion to one of the Titans, a superhuman race in Greek mythology who ruled the world before the Olympian gods.

Act 2, scene 4

Mythological

Alas, poor Romeo! He is already dead, stabbed with a white wench’s black eye, shot through the ears with a love song, the very pin of his heart cleft with the blind bow-boy’s butt shaft. (2.4.13–16)

The phrase “blind bow-boy” is an allusion to Cupid, the Roman god of desire and erotic love.

Literary

More than Prince of Cats. (2.4.18)

The term “Prince of Cats” is an allusion to a character in a medieval fable who was also named Tybalt.

Literary/Mythological/Historical

Now he is for the numbers that Petrarch flowed in. Laura to his lady was but a kitchen-wench—marry, she had a better love to berhyme her—Dido a dowdy, Cleopatra a gypsy, Helen and Hero hildings and harlots, Thisbe a grey or so, but not to the purpose. (2.4.35–39)

This quote contains several allusions. Petrarch was an Italian Renaissance poet. The six women named—Laura, Dido, Cleopatra, Helen, Hero, and Thisbe—were historical or mythological women who were the subjects of Shakespeare’s or others’ love poetry.

Act 2, scene 5

Mythological

And therefore hath the wind-swift Cupid wings. (2.5.8)

This is an allusion to Cupid, the Roman god of desire and erotic love.

Act 3, scene 1

Literary

Good King of Cats, nothing but one of your nine lives[.] (3.1.48)

The term “King of Cats” is an allusion to a character in a medieval fable who was also named Tybalt.

Act 3, scene 2

Mythological

Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds, Toward Phoebus’ lodging. (3.2.1–2)

This is an allusion to Phoebus, also called Apollo, the Greek god of the sun.

Mythological

Such a wagoner As Phaeton would whip you to the west And bring in cloudy night immediately. (3.2.2–4)

This is an allusion to Phaeton, the son of the Greek Titan sun god.

Act 3, scene 5

Mythological

’Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia’s brow. (3.5.20)

This is an allusion to Cynthia, the name given to the moon goddess in Shakespeare’s time.

Literary

Some say the lark and loathèd toad change eyes. (3.5.31)

This is an allusion to a folktale that claims the lark got its ugly eyes from the toad, who took the lark’s pretty eyes.

Act 4, scene 5

Mythological

For Venus smiles not in a house of tears. (4.5.8)

This is an allusion to Venus, the Roman goddess of love.