Allusion in Much Ado About Nothing

In Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare uses allusions to Greek and Roman mythology, especially in the witty interactions between Beatrice and Benedick. There are also allusions to the Bible, which are used to characterize the personalities, values, and motives of different characters.

Allusion Examples in Much Ado About Nothing:

Act I - Scene I 1

"He hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure of a lamb the feats of a lion..."   (Act I - Scene I)

The lion and the lamb are important mythological symbols, both commonly found in the Bible. The lamb represents meekness and docility, while the lion represents boldness and violence. The messenger’s metaphor suggests that Don Pedro’s frail exterior belies his forcefulness.

"Troilus..."   (Act V - Scene II)

Troilus is a warrior in the Trojan War depicted in Roman mythology. In medieval literature, Troilus was written into a tragic love story with a woman Cressida. The couple is separated shortly after they fall in love when Cressida is traded to the Greeks for a Trojan soldier and taken as a paramour by a Grecian officer.

"Leander ..."   (Act V - Scene II)

Leander is a character from Greek mythology who swims across a narrow channel to his lover Hero every night. One night, a terrible storm blows out the lantern Hero places in her tower window to guide Leander’s journey. Lost in the channel without this light, Leander drowns.