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Religious, historical, mythological, literary, films

An allusion is a figure of speech that makes a reference to a place, person, or something that happened. This can be real or imaginary and may refer to anything, including paintings, opera, folk lore, mythical figures, or religious manuscripts. The reference can be direct or may be inferred, and can broaden the reader’s understanding.
Understanding Allusions
Because allusions make reference to something other than what is directly being discussed, you may miss an allusion or fail to understand it if you do not know the underlying biblical story, literary tale or other reference point.
Allusions allow the writer to give an example or get a point across without going into a lengthy discourse.  Allusions are contingent on the reader knowing about the story or event that is referenced.

Fortunately, today it is easy to look these things up so when someone references something you do not understand, you can easily turn to the Internet to learn enough to grasp the allusion for yourself. 

There are several ways that an allusion can help a writer:

Allusions engage the reader and will often help the reader remember the message or theme of the passage.
Allusions allow the writer to give an example or get a point across without going into a lengthy discourse.
Allusions are contingent on the reader knowing about the story or event that is referenced.

According to Justice Robert French: Allusion(s), marginally relevant but of sound aesthetic provenance, lightly inserted but suggesting vast allusive reserves, certainly enhances the texture of judicial prose, and may even contribute in useful ways to sustaining a learned and authoritative judicial tone.

Literary Allusions

Here are some examples that allude to people or events in literature: 

“I was surprised his nose was not growing like Pinocchio’s.” This refers
to the story of Pinocchio, where his nose grew whenever he told a lie. It is
from The Adventures of Pinocchio, written by Carlo Collodi. 

“When she lost her job, she acted like a Scrooge, and refused to buy
anything that wasn’t necessary.” Scrooge was an extremely stingy character
from Charles Dickens’, A Christmas Carol. 

“I thought the software would be useful, but it was a Trojan Horse.” This
refers to the horse that the Greeks built that contained all the soldiers. It
was given as a gift to the enemy during the Trojan War and, once inside the
enemy's walls, the soldiers broke out. By using trickery, the Greeks won the

“He was a real Romeo with the ladies.” Romeo was a character in
Shakespeare’s play, Romeo and Juliet, and was very romantic in expressing
his love for Juliet. 

“Chocolate was her Achilles’ heel.” This means that her weakness was her
love of chocolate. Achilles is a character in Greek mythology who was
invincible. His mother dipped him in magical water when he was a baby, and she
held him by the heel. The magic protected him all over, except for his heel. 

Tennysonian exhortation from the same poem, “To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.” 

We are part of all that we have met/read”

Afternoon LightTennyson’s country of the lotus-eaters where it was always afternoon.

Biblical Allusions

“He was a Good Samaritan yesterday when he helped the lady start her car.”
“She turned the other cheek after she was cheated out of a promotion.”
“This place is like a Garden of Eden.”

“You are a Solomon when it comes to making decisions.”

“When the volcano erupted, the nearby forest was swallowed up in dust and ash like Jonah.”

 Nostradamus, - 

Faustian -  sacrificing spiritual values for power, knowledge, or material gain: a Faustian pact with the Devil; relating to, or characteristic of Faust: a Faustian novel.

Origin of Faustian

Johann Faust (c1481–c1541), Latinized as Johannes Faustus , was an itinerant German alchemist, astrologer, magician, and thaumaturge. Legend has it that even though he was very successful, he became dissatisfied with his life and with the limits of human knowledge and therefore sold his soul to the Devil for limitless knowledge and pleasure for a limited time—the Faustian bargain. Faust in German means ”fist”; faustus in Latin means ”of favorable omen, auspicious.”

It is a truth universally acknowledged … that you should never start sentence with that phrase

Pointless, pretentious throat-clearing. It is a truth universally acknowledged that the next columnist or critic who begins their piece with “It is a truth universally acknowledged …” is likely to be murdered. By me. The weapon will be a blunt instrument (The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary) and my defence at the trial will rest on extreme provocation.

Appropriating the first line of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is the most irritating and over-used of the “Big Three” literary thefts so beloved of lazy hacks who can’t be bothered thinking up an original opening. The second is “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” (Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities), and the third “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there” (L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between).

The notion that stealing someone else’s great first line is somehow OK in a post-modern sort of way sticks in the craw of anyone who writes for a living (as distinct from salaried journalists or columnists on contract). If the next hit single by Beyonce began with the opening eight bars of Love Me Do she’d be sued into bankruptcy, and rightly so. Yet when the same level of larceny is in words, nobody seems to care.

Resort to this shop-worn lick has now descended to the lower backwaters of our journalistic swamp. The latest clever-clogs wordsmith to help himself to Jane Austen is Michael Idato, who writes preview pars about TV programs for Fairfax. “It is a truth universally acknowledged,” parrots Idato in Saturday’s Spectrum, “that any television viewer in want of entertainment will almost certainly be soothed by a cat.”

We are supposed to think this is witty. In fact it is little more than robbery in the service of such a hackneyed device that any reader who has graduated beyond the Dr Seuss books must surely groan.

Worse, it is meaningless padding. If we were to take Idato’s first sentence and delete all the words up to and including “that”, the sense would be unchanged.

Not even the legendary Phil Space, resident waffler at Private Eye, would peddle such vapid longueurs.

So, note to subeditors: cut the pretend-literary crap and let Austen, Dickens and Hartley rest in peace.

Trimalchio is a character in the 1st century AD Roman work of fiction Satyricon by Petronius. Trimalchio is a freedman who through hard work and perseverance has attained power and wealth. The name Trimalchio is formed from the Greek prefix τρις and the Semitic melek in its occidental form Malchio or Malchus.[1] The fundamental meaning of the root is "King," and the name Trimalchio would thus mean "Thrice King," "greatest King."[1] His full name is Gaius Pompeius Trimalchio His wife's name is Fortunata, a former slave and chorus girl. Trimalchio is known for throwing lavish dinner parties, where his numerous servants bring course after course of exotic delicacies, such as live birds sewn up inside a pig, live birds inside fake eggs which the guests have to 'collect' themselves and a dish to represent every sign of the zodiac.

•         There is a single mention of Trimalchio in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby as his showy parties and background parallels that of Gatsby: Chapter Seven begins, "It was when curiosity about Gatsby was at its highest that the lights in his house failed to go on one Saturday night - and, as obscurely as it began, his career as Trimalchio was over." Trimalchio and Trimalchio in West Egg were among Fitzgerald's working titles for the novel.

Ancient Philosophies

Much of yesterday's wisdom still applies today.

Book 5 of Thucydides history describes how the ambassadors of the powerful city state of Athens rebuffed the leaders of the island of Melos, who wished to remain neutral in the conflict engulfing the ancient Hellenic world.


The ambassadors told the Melians that "justice is to be found only as between equals in power. As for the rest, the strong do as they will and the weak suffer as they must". The enlightened rule of law,"   "seeks to ensure that that is not so, that might is not right." Its appropriate philosopher was not Descartes but Darwin; not “I think, therefore I am,” but the “survival of the fittest.”

the French have a saying; “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose”

It is generally recognised that the first casualty in war is truth (Aeschylus)

It is better to deserve and not have honours than to have them and not deserve them.   Twain

Irresistible allure of the young; youth is wasted on the young:

 As one of Chico Marx's characters once said: "Who ya gonna believe -- me or your own eyes?"

Twas ever thus in the affairs of human beings and ever will it be. 

The Sisyphean arguments, laboriously pushed uphill, collapse under the weight of inadequate information, fanciful assumptions, imaginary premises, selective cherry-picking of evidence, misconstrued analysis, contradictory, incoherent arguments, overstretched logic leading to clueless conclusions.

If you are trying to clean the Augean stables, you’re not done with only cleaning one stall; you need to complete the job properly, but don’t sweep it into the Rideau Canal and outrage the environmentalists.

Lewis Carroll - Alice In Wonderland

It appears the court system has fallen down a rabbit hole to that other Tea Party hosted by the Mad Hatter, where Humpty Dumpty patronisingly explains to Alice, a stubborn voice of reason, that the meaning of a word is simply determined by “who is to be master -, that is all” , following not Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am,” but Darwin’s  “survival of the fittest. Where might is right”

Later Alice also learns from the White Queen, that with more effort and practice in these post-ironical, post - modern and post cynical times, “we can all be expected to dutifully believe six impossible things before breakfast”.  As things become curiouser and curiouser, Alice yearns for “something to make sense” but finally concludes that “This is just a house of cards”. 

Peter Pan

 Peter Pan is a play for children: like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, it demands a suspension of adult skepticism and linear thinking, and plays upon the archetypal fears of being lost and orphaned. But if Oz is benign and forward-looking-full of the optimism of a new continent -- Peter Pan is haunted and haunting: if, for Dorothy and the Darling children, there is no place like home, then for Peter there is no home."

It would be tedious and unnecessary to detail all the forced conclusions, the inconsistencies and remorseless hostility the court showed towards the applicants, Let three pieces of unfounded assumptions suffice.

their interpretative frames.  Sums up the bent which informs this verdict.

Or is an adversary like the Judicial System simply too big a monster to slay? Just like the Lernaean Hydra of Greek mythology, if you ever did manage to cut off one of its heads, two more would grow back in its place. Is it an exercise in futility?

Auden:  “All truths are derived from the ordinary, daily common lives of contemporary people”.

Rip Van Winkle

Because while working in official positions - institutions, a disease of forgetfulness comes over you, so that you may forget that the people you work alongside exist outside the building, that outside is where the real business of living occurs, and that it is possible to wake up, Rip Van Winkle–style, 20 years in the future, wondering what happened.

'holds her baby like a gypsy'

Liberal Party critics said of Kelly O'Dwyer that she quote 'holds her baby like a gypsy',"

They were commenting on Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer's superannuation changes. For those who don't get the reference, it means she throws her baby at you while stealing from your pocket. We are not sure those pushing to have O'Dwyer unseated have thought this public relations campaign through.


Steven Bradbury -The Most Unexpected Gold Medal In History  Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics


As the Roman codger Juvenal who wrote of the people’s appetite for bread and circuses; the court prefers the cheap nourishment of legal theatrics, failing memories and entertaining fantasies, to real hard research for solid material and reliable evidence.

“…the arrogance of officialdom need to be tempered and controlled,….” - Cicero, 55 BC

As Tacitus put it,” misdeeds, once exposed, have no refuge but in audacity”.

Bismarckian would not be to overstate it, and the program has the same imperative as had Iron Otto’s: “to starve socialism of any chance to grow beyond a small heartland, and flourish in the centre”.

Hobson's choice ... Np choice - chuse whether you will have this horse or none.

Sophie's choice  …  an impossible choice

From the novel and film of the same name, an impossibly difficult choice, especially when forced onto someone. The choice is between two unbearable options, and it's essentially a no-win situation.

"Sophie's Choice" is centered on a scene in Auschwitz where Sophie has just arrived with her ten-year old son and her seven-year old daughter and a sadistic doctor, presumably Doctor Mengele, tells her that she can only bring one of her children; one will be allowed to live while the other is to be killed.

As a mother, Sophie adores both of her children and can't make this agonizing choice... until several soldiers force her and she hastily gives her daughter to them, sobbing as they take her little girl away. 

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