Allusion Name



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Allusion

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You can find allusion examples in almost every piece of writing there is. It is one of the best used elements of literature to justify a situation or character, by comparing it to an already existing or written about situation or character. Select the correct answer(s) for each of the following examples of Allusion.


  1. Describing someone as a “Romeo” makes an allusion to...

    1. the famous young lover in Romeo and Juliet

    2. someone from the city of Rome

    3. a “homeboy” like Mr. Newton

  2. I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father, Jor-el, to save the Planet Earth.”- Senator Barack Obama. this quote alludes to the story of...

    1. Jesus Christ

    2. The president’s birth

    3. Superman

  3. She was breathtakingly beautiful, but he knew that she was forbidden fruit-is an allusion to the story of...

    1. Of Mice and Men

    2. The Crucible

    3. Eve in the Garden of Eden- a Biblical story

  4. It was as amazing as the parting of the Red Sea-makes an allusion to...

    1. Moby Dick

    2. Moses-Biblical story in which he is chosen to save the people of Israel.

    3. Atlantis

  5. He snarled over his shoulder as he left, “I’ll be back!” is an allusion to the character...

    1. The wolf in “The Three Little Pigs”

    2. The Terminator

    3. The caboose in “The Little Engine That Could”

  6. It has rained so long, it seems as though it has rained for 40 days and nights, is an allusion to the story of...

    1. The Arabian Nights

    2. The Jungle Book

    3. Noah and the Ark


7. Terry was no Scrooge, but he spent his money wisely.-makes an allusion to the story of...

  1. A Christmas Carol

  2. Mary Poppins

  3. Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse

8. To act or not to act, that was Maria’s dilemma.-makes an allusion to...

  1. West Side Story

  2. The Sound of Music

  3. Shakespeare’s Hamlet

9. He prioritized his financial responsibilities as Thoreau might have.-makes an allusion to...

  1. Scrooge

  2. tax evasion

  3. Bonny and Clyde

10. Carl’s worries weighed on him like a board covered in heavy stones.-makes an allusion a. The Lottery (short story)

b. The Sword in the Stone

c. Giles Corey’s predicament in The Crucible
An allusion is a reference to an historical event or person. Allusions are used in all forms of literature and paintings, in newspaper headlines, advertisements, song lyrics, and political speeches. But why? There are several reasons we use allusions. The most important one is that a one or two word allusion can often take the place of a much longer explanation.

If, for example, you want to say that a woman is beautiful, has the ability to turn men into beasts, and can lure them to destruction, you will use almost twenty words. Instead you can simply say that she is a Circe. Circe, a demigoddess of ancient Greece, was beautiful and turned Odysseus’ men into swine in The Odyssey. Anyone who knows the story of Circe knows immediately the kind of woman you are talking about when you mention Circe.
Directions: In the following questions, there will be a sentence with an allusion in it. The allusion will be italicized. A. will explain the reference. In B. you will need to explain the meaning of the allusion being used in the sentence.


  1. Vietnam was President Johnson’s Achilles heel.

    1. When Achilles was an infant, his mother dipped him into the river Styx. This made him invulnerable to injury except on the heel, which his mother was holding. Hence, his heel was his one weak point-the one place he could be seriously injured.

    2. Meaning of the allusion? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.

2. To give the graduating seniors an extended lunch period instead of the beach party they requested is indeed to throw a sop to Cerberus.

  1. Cerberus was a vicious three-headed dog that guarded the entrance to the underworld. To distract him and to placate him, people sometimes threw him a handful of food-not much-just enough to keep him quiet for a bit.

  2. Meaning of the allusion? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. The multimillionaire wondered, with satisfaction, if he truly had the Midas touch.

  1. Midas was a king of Phrygia. One of Bacchus’ men walked away from the group and was lost; Midas returned him to Bacchus. Bacchus was so delighted he offered Midas one wish. Without thinking, Midas asked for and received a special gift-everything he touched turned to gold.

  2. Meaning of the allusion? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

4. His protean personality fascinated his friends but at the same time caused them to

distrust him.

  1. Proteus was a sea-god who could change his shape at will.

  2. Meaning of the allusion? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5. A pyrrhic victory is the only kind of a victory possible in a nuclear war.

  1. Pyrrhus, an ancient king, won a battle but during the battle suffered very heavy losses.

  2. Meaning of the allusion? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


6. The present school curriculum seems to some students a procrustean bed.

  1. A legendary Greek highwayman, Procrustes, tied his victims to an iron bed and then made them the right length for it by stretching those who were too short and cutting off as much as necessary from those who were too long.

  2. Meaning of the allusion? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

7. Travels With Charley, John Steinbeck’s report of the people and places encountered in

his cross-country trip, might well be subtitled, “An American Odyssey.”

  1. Odysseus, a Greek hero, made a ten-year journey from Troy to his home in Ithaca after the end of the Trojan War. During his journey he had many adventures and overcame many dangers, thus gaining knowledge of himself and his world.

  2. Meaning of the allusion? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

8. Thanks to her agent, a veritable Pygmalion, she was transformed from an ugly

duckling into a Hollywood beauty.

  1. Pygmalion, a woman-hater who resolved to never marry, was a sculptor who created a statue of a woman so beautiful that he fell in love with it. From his unending pain and through intercession of the gods, it was brought to life.

  2. Meaning of the allusion? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

9. A teenager’s attempt to win peer approval and parental approval may make him feel he

is steering a course between Scylla and Charybdis.

  1. Scylla was a frightful monster that lived in some cliffs and Charybdis a whirlpool on opposite sides of a narrow channel. Ships steering between them had to avoid both dangers.

  2. Meaning of the allusion? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

10. Some poets, comically, hope to arrive at the height of Parnassus by way of

a jet plane.

  1. Parnassus was a mountain in Greece sacred to Apollo and the Muses. It symbolizes the font of inspiration and the arts.

  2. Meaning of the allusion? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


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