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Allusion in Sonnet 19

Allusion Examples in Sonnet 19:

Sonnet 19

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"swift-footed..."   (Sonnet 19)

“Swift-footed” is an allusion to the myth of Achilles. Achilles’s mother Thetis dips her son in the river Styx in order to make him immortal. However, because she hold him by his heel, he was left with one fatal flaw that led to his downfall. This allusion reveals the futility of the speaker’s objective in this poem: like Achilles’s mother, his rhetorical attempts to make his beautiful young beloved immortal are fatally flawed.

"Phoenix..."   (Sonnet 19)

A Phoenix is a mythological bird that lives for centuries, sets itself on fire, and then is reborn from the ashes. It is a symbol for immortality and the cyclical nature of all life. It is notable that the speaker views the death of the Phoenix in a negative light. He resists the necessary cycles of nature, for those cycles will cause his beloved to decay and die.

"make the earth devour..."   (Sonnet 19)

This is an allusion to the Roman god Saturn. In mythology, Saturn ate each one of his children upon their births because he was afraid of being overthrown. Shakespeare uses similar imagery in his play Titus Andronicus when queen Tamora eats her own sons.

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