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Allusion in Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew

Allusion in Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew

Allusions are a specific kind of reference: to well-known characters, events, or themes that come from classical works of literature, such as Greek and Roman mythology or the Bible. Here are some allusions from the text of The Taming of the Shrew.

“Hear Minerva speak.”
       — Lucentio (1.1.84)

Minerva is the Roman equivalent to Athena of Greek mythology. She is the goddess of wisdom.

“Leave that labor to great Hercules.”
        — Gremio (1.2.255)

Hercules, or Heracles, is a hero of incredible strength from Greek mythology. He was assigned twelve impossible labors by the goddess Hera. 

“Hic ibat Simois, hic est Sigeia tellus.”
        — Lucentio (2.1.28-29

These lines come from the Greek poet Ovid’s book Heroides. They speak of the location of the river Simios and the palace of the Trojan king Priam. This basic Latin text would have been used in many schools, and could be considered the equivalent of “See spot run” in a modern English lesson.