An allusion is an indirect reference to a previous discussion or text. Allusions are used to hint at familiar ideas, sayings or elements. In media, allusions are used to fabricate the context or build up a perception between the character and the audience. Allusions can be historical, religious, mythological, political, or cultural. In media as well as art, they are used to well-knit the characters and their emotions so that the reader can easily connect with them. In order to identify allusion, readers don’t need deep meditation. However, they can sometimes remain unnoticed if the reader is not well attentive and unfamiliar with classics or mythology. The names of movies and TV shows often include allusions to capture the attention of audiences.
Examples of Allusions in TV
In this television series, the allusions are well discussed in the Cold War events references, like the fall of the Berlin Wall and the splitting of the Soviet Union. Moreover, many literary allusions are shown especially to works of Shakespeare. The line “Undiscovered country” is taken from Hamlet. The scenes have allusions to the Cold War; Hamlet; Hitler; Henry iv, part ii; Brave New World. This series contains allusions to another film: “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967).
In this TV show, the tale of teenage Clark Kent is shown. He was a superman and kept his powers secret. He is shown as the superhero in the show. His only weakness is Kryptonite. The allusion refers to Achilles, both have the same weakness. Achilles’ heel is his only weakness, like Clark, aka Superman, that caused his death.
The story revolves around the three sisters, who come together to fulfill the witchcraft prophecy. They try their hardest to protect their innocence. They are not only different from the world around them but also different in nature. These sisters are similar to the Graeac sisters. Both groups are powerful and have individual powers and share their powers for the betterment of others.
In this story, the men’s championship event and the center of attraction for the viewers. The event usually last, and the balls get heavier as the contender proceeds. Everyone must place them on the platform. Atlas is the perfect example of allusion to the Titan, who has to hold the weight of the world for the rest of the time on his shoulder. They possess the same strength and stamina to do both tasks.
Dora – Swiper
Swiper, the fox from Dora The Explorer goes on stealing things from Dora. He is very cunning and crafty. He especially steals things for a sport, not for his need. Here Swiper, the fox, is an allusion to Hermes, that took cattle from Apollo and made them hide in Pylos. Swiper and Hermes are very clever and steal without any reason.
Examples of Allusions in Films
The Clueless (1995)
This teen comedy is a use detailed allusion to Jane Austin’s novel ‘Emma’. The characters, scenes, and meaning are the reflection of Emma. This is the sitcom that follows the adventures of Cher Horowitz, a Californian girl. She and her friends navigate the high school atmosphere and social status.
The allusions between the film Logan (2017) and the classic Western Shane (1953) are a source of great inspiration for the viewers. The filmmaker of Logan paid homage to his film as both films mirror of each other. Also, they allude to western troops and the theme behind such as violence on the soul.
The death scene is a biblical allusion to Jesus on the cross and to Noah’s dove. Additionally, there is a close resemblance between ‘Blade Runner’ and the last scene of ‘Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru’ (1952), where the dying bureaucrat takes his last breath on the swing under the falling snowflakes.
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
The film is well woven, and the allusions are very deep, as shown through each child as well as Charlie. These allusions in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory represent the seven deadly sins: Lust, Gluttony, sloth, greed, wrath, pride, and envy that can lead people to hell. Mr. Wonka also quotes ‘Juliet from Act ll, Scene ll, Lines 184-185’. Some pieces of the film also allude to the play ‘Merchant of Venice’.
The Disney movie Pocahontas alludes to The Tempest by William Shakespeare by comparing Captain John Smith, as he is a sailor and he is shipwrecked. The love story of Pocahontas and Smith is the reflection of the love between Miranda and Ferdinand in “The Tempest” as well.
Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs
In this film, the biblical allusion to Eve and the forbidden apple is quite evident. As Eve is convinced by the serpent or Satan to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree, the witch convinces Snow White to eat the poisonous apple, and the stepmother or a witch alludes to the Serpent in Eden. The entire story moves with shades of the first chapter of Genesis in the Old Testament.
Examples of Allusion in Art
Jacques David painted the oath of the Horatii. He tried to step into the classical era showing ancient Rome and Greece. He allures the classical relief as in the Cancelleria reliefs. The gestures are quite evident and reflect the legendary story of self-sacrifice and courage or homeland.
In below painting is an example of Biblical allusion. This “Storm in the of Galilee” was painted by Rembrandt. This reflects the gesture of Jesus calming down the sea waves and saving the lives of fourteen men. According to historians, Rembrandt painted himself next to Jesus in this artwork. It is said that this art piece was stolen and still missing.
This painting is an example of literary allusion where “Miranda” is referencing Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. This exemplary art was painted by John William Waterhouse. Miranda is painted at the water’s edge during a storm.
Mythological allusions are also very common among painters. This picture was painted by Sandro Botticelli in the late 1470s. It is considered the most popular painting in Western art. A group of figures from Greek mythology is painted in it.
Below is an example from literary allusion where famous painter Frederick Sandys painted Morgan Le Fay, sister of King Arthur. Her loose hair and leopard skin, woven in an enchanted robe, reflect the cruel female lust for sex. The green robe is Kimono, a traditional Japanese garment.