Q:

What was the classical allusion in Romeo and Juliet?

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Quick Answer

Two classical allusions are found in Act I, Scene 1 of "Romeo and Juliet," when Romeo talks about his love. He states that she will "...not be hit With Cupid’s arrow. She hath Dian’s wit." This references the Greek myth of Cupid, who caused people to fall in love by firing his weapons at them. Romeo also favorably compares his beloved's cleverness to Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt.

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Full Answer

In addition, Scene I, Act 1 contains a classical allusion to Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn. Romeo's mother worries that her son avoids daytime, staying out all night and not coming home until first light: "...as the all-cheering sun/ Should in the farthest east begin to draw/ The shady curtains from Aurora’s bed,/ Away from light steals home my heavy son."

Another classical allusion occurs in Act II, Scene 2, when Juliet tells Romeo that she longs to hear his name spoken over and over, but she must hide their love from her family: "Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies,/ And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine,/ With repetition of 'My Romeo!'" This is a reference to Echo, a nymph from Greek mythology who was cursed to forever repeat the words of others. Juliet wishes for Echo to copy her, saying Romeo's name until they are unable to continue.

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