21 votes
Accepted

What reference is Shakespeare making in Act 2 Scene 2 of Macbeth?

It's a Biblical reference. Noting that Macbeth is speaking of his own hands, and his own fears, How is ’t with me when every noise appals me? it is clear that this is an allusion to Matthew ...
15 votes

What reference is Shakespeare making in Act 2 Scene 2 of Macbeth?

Possibly the Bible? From Matthew 18:9: And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be ...
13 votes

Did the Lord of the Flies have any kind of religious reference more specific than just the Devil?

The entire book can be seen as an allegory for the Bible. It has a startlingly large number of allusions to Jewish and Christian myths and stories. Here are some of them: The island, in the ...
  • 4,219
11 votes
Accepted

In "The Importance of Being Earnest", what does 'Or they come in the evening, at any rate' mean?

It is a reference to the English class system. Lady Bracknell, a stickler for propriety, is suggesting that the Liberals are lower class than herself. The lower classes don't dine in the evening, ...
  • 2,066
11 votes
Accepted

Which Upanishad is TS Eliot referencing with "Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata." and why?

Looking at Swami Krishnananda's book on The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (emphasis mine): This instruction, which was communicated to the Devas, Manushyās and Asuras – gods, men and demons – by the ...
  • 6,664
10 votes
Accepted

How does the golden bough in "Sailing to Byzantium" relate to the story in the Aeneid, if at all?

I think it does refer to the episode from The Aeneid. I say this with confidence because there are many classical references. First, there is the name Byzantium, the Latin name for the city (Greek: ...
  • 639
7 votes
Accepted

Is the song "Mabel Grey" by Brown Bird an allusion to a real ship?

According to an interview (link) with surviving band member Joe Fletcher, "Mabel Grey" is in reference to a real ship of the same name, but was written by the late David Lamb and details about the ...
  • 4,854
7 votes

What reference is Shakespeare making in Act 2 Scene 2 of Macbeth?

The OP states that the source is hard to spell. That can't apply to the Bible. A classical character who actually blinds himself is Oedipus. His crime is the same as the one Macbeth contemplates--...
  • 1,149
7 votes

Did the Lord of the Flies have any kind of religious reference more specific than just the Devil?

Existing answers have covered a few of these concepts, but there was plenty of Christian iconography apart from the devil who promoted evil among mankind. The island itself, particularly Simon's ...
7 votes

Is Keats' swan with "neck of arched snow" an allusion to Milton's "swan with arched neck"?

Keats’ debt to Milton in these lines was well observed. But Keats was not the only poet to borrow from Milton’s description of the swan! Borrowing from Milton Phil Robinson discussed Milton’s swan and ...
  • 42.4k
6 votes

Did the Lord of the Flies have any kind of religious reference more specific than just the Devil?

The allusions mentioned above are true in some regard; although, some clarity could be made about the Christian idea of sin. Christianity affirms that each individual has the choice of, even the ...
  • 61
6 votes

Which Upanishad is TS Eliot referencing with "Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata." and why?

To add to muru's excellent answer, taking on the "why" part of the question, this final part of Eliot's poem presents us with a world in ruins, not as much in substance as in spirit. The prevailing ...
  • 61
6 votes
Accepted

Are there any debated authorship references in Thursday Next series?

There really aren't that many authorship debates, since an author's name will usually become associated with a story whether or not they actually wrote the work in question --- such as Homer (leading ...
  • 1,670
6 votes
Accepted

What is the "Eastern wolf" in this poem?

There is indeed a resonance with Norse mythology. In Völuspá, stanza 39 according to Codex Regius, or 24 according to Hauksbók (there are otherwise only variations of tense between them in this stanza)...
  • 3,253
6 votes
Accepted

What movie is Holden describing?

Random Harvest (1942) has many of the elements mentioned in Catcher in the Rye: The hero is an English officer who was wounded in the First World War and lost his memories. He meets and falls in love ...
  • 42.4k
6 votes
Accepted

Is there any significance in the cry "Euan, euan, eu-oi-oi-oi" in Prince Caspian?

Apparently ’euoi’ is a ‘cry of impassioned rapture in ancient Bacchic revels’, per wiktionary and ‘Euan’ or ‘Euhan’ is a Latin name for Bacchus, per Notre Dame University.
  • 15.9k
5 votes
Accepted

Allusion by Albert Camus to another author

This is conjectural, but just before the passage in question, Camus writes something like We sail across spaces so vast they seem unending. Sun and moon rise and fall in turn, on the same thread of ...
  • 3,860
5 votes
Accepted

Why could Cú Chulainn not recognise his own son?

Cú Chulainn is a famous character from Irish myth, and the accidental slaying of his son is part of the legend. On Baile's Strand is a retelling of parts of the myth, with some added subplots and ...
  • 15.3k
5 votes
Accepted

Who is Thoreau quoting (or paraphrasing) here in Walden?

This comes from Confucius, in his Analects, 9.26. The Master said: “You can snatch away the general of a large army, but you cannot snatch away the will of even the lowliest of men.” This ...
5 votes
Accepted

In Mary Tighe's Psyche, what is the gemstone referred to by allusion?

A figure in Greco-Roman mythology whose death was mourned by Phoebus/Apollo? That reminds me of Hyacinth: One day, Apollo was teaching him the game of quoit. They decided to have a friendly ...
  • 65k
4 votes

Is the speaker with an on-off switch a reference to Orwell?

The idea of surveillance by governments and of a privileged caste demanding and receiving privacy isn't unique to Orwell, but that scene certainly does sound as though it's pretty much a “straight ...
4 votes
Accepted

Allusion to Plato in Fahrenheit 451?

This excerpt: Montag shook his head. He looked at a blank wall. The girl's face was there, really quite beautiful in memory: astonishing, in fact. She had a very thin face like the dial of a small ...
  • 1,681
4 votes
Accepted

How do we know that Shelley's "Adonais" refers to Byron and Moore?

In his answer, Peter Shor has set out the wording in the text of Adonais that suggests the identification of the mourners. But we don’t have to rely only on the text: there is also the epitext, the “...
  • 42.4k
4 votes

How do we know that Shelley's "Adonais" refers to Byron and Moore?

This is partially explained in the Project Gutenberg edition of Adonais. I believe you've misidentified the sections of the poem that refer to Byron and Moore, respectively. Byron is described in: ...
  • 8,378
4 votes

Is there anything deeper about the comparisons between Queenie and the Red Queen in "Code Name Verity"?

I think that either Maddie or the author Elizabeth Wein is partly conflating the Red Queen from Through The Looking Glass with the Queen of Hearts (and a few other characters/events) from Alice's ...
4 votes
Accepted

Is the "wall of solitude" a reference to Pink Floyd's "The Wall"?

The metaphorical use of “another brick in the wall” to mean “a small component of a much larger structure, system, or process” (OED) was popularized by the Pink Floyd song, but long predates it. The ...
  • 42.4k
3 votes
Accepted

Identifying allusions in Eric Jarosinski's poem "TWEET"

"Tweet" has the structure of a Twitter thread, where a tweeter posts a series of linked tweets. Each verse alludes to tropes or specific works in a highly compressed and effective way. The ...
  • 15.4k
3 votes

Does Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's novel Vishabriksha have a special meaning in Tagore's Chokher Bali?

tl;dr Tagore's progressive take on the plight of widows rebukes Chatterjee's retrograde portrayal of widow remarriage. Introduction Like Rabindranath Tagore's চোখের বালি / chokher baali "A Speck ...
  • 15.4k
3 votes

What's with the reference to "Alice in Wonderland" in Nalo Hopkinson's "The Reverse Cheshire Cat"?

Based on another of her short stories, "Ally", we get some insight in Hopkinson's use of the "Cheshire Cat". Unlike the Cheshire Cat’s, his smile became a little more real as he quoted back: “‘...
  • 1,566

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