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 ...
Plumbing for Ankit's user avatar
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 ...
Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum's user avatar
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 ...
CHEESE's user avatar
  • 4,482
11 votes
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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, ...
Chenmunka's user avatar
  • 2,307
11 votes
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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 ...
muru's user avatar
  • 6,910
10 votes
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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: ...
ktm5124's user avatar
  • 639
10 votes
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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.
Spagirl's user avatar
  • 19k
10 votes

What is the "love-god's string" in Sarojini Naidu's "A Song in Spring"?

This is a reference to the Hindu god of love, Kama, who, like Cupid, has a magical bow with magical arrows. (Comma overload) In the narrow context of the verse, it's an allusion, and in the broader ...
CDR's user avatar
  • 2,735
8 votes
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"Hamlet" reference in "Crime and Punishment": translator's invention?

To answer your question, let's refer to the Russian original. Here's the relevant passage: Идти с фальшивым билетом — куда же? — в банкирскую контору, где на этом собаку съели, — нет, я бы ...
Alex Mayants's user avatar
7 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 ...
Dinu's user avatar
  • 71
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--...
Ralph Crown's user avatar
  • 1,237
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 ...
Parallax Sugar's user avatar
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 ...
BESW's user avatar
  • 4,972
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 ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
7 votes

Why specify Mr. Berry looked into the brass like Snow White's queen in Ellison's "The Black Ball"?

The Brass As for why the author puts so much emphasis on Mr. Berry gazing into the brass in general, I can think of a few purposes. First, it illustrates the basics of Mr. Berry's personality. The ...
MJ713's user avatar
  • 917
7 votes
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What passage of the Book of Malachi does Milton refer to in chapter VI, book I of "The Doctrine & Discipline of Divorce"?

Malachi is a short book, and there is only one passage which is directly about divorce, 2:13-16, with 2:16 being the key text here. Milton cites John Calvin's translation, given in his commentary on ...
alexg's user avatar
  • 1,804
6 votes
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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 ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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 ...
R.D.'s user avatar
  • 61
6 votes
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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 ...
Gaurav's user avatar
  • 1,700
6 votes
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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)...
andejons's user avatar
  • 3,475
6 votes

Which poet explained 'why sweet Hesper glows'?

The reference is surely to Sappho fragments 104(a) and (b), in David Campbell’s numbering: 104(a) Demetrius, On Style Sometimes, also, Sappho makes charming use of repetition as in the description ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
5 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 ...
Will Crawford's user avatar
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 ...
Nathaniel is protesting's user avatar
5 votes
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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 ...
kimchi lover's user avatar
  • 4,170
5 votes
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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 ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
  • 22.1k
5 votes
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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 “...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
5 votes
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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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.6k
5 votes

"Hamlet" reference in "Crime and Punishment": translator's invention?

If the original contained a Shakespeare allusion, then all English translations would include it. Here is a different translation, where it is rendered as "where they know that kind of thing ...
Pete's user avatar
  • 2,761
5 votes

To what Mrs. Partingtons and to what martyrs of Chicago does Tucker allude in the first chapter of 'Individual Liberty'?

A Dictionary of English Phrases has an entry for 'Dame Partington's broom,' which redirects the reader to 'Mrs Partington': Mrs. Partington: the personification of impotent prejudice. From a ...
CDR's user avatar
  • 2,735

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