The allusion is a rhetorical stylistic device which can appear in all literary genres. The term “allusion” refers to the use of expressions which indirectly, ie circumspectly and implicitly, refer to a particular person or a certain factual situation. The style-figure is therefore a form of allusion, and is also related to the periphrase, which also denotes a circumscribed reference.
The term can be derived from the Latin alludere and can be used to translate something or something. As a result, the translation of the figure shows us what is at stake here: the use of words which refer to a person or a fact [and describe it without naming it directly]. Let’s take a look at an example of styling.
He did it professionally, but his lecture was beside it.
The oral presentation is precisely his Achillesfere.
The above example says that someone knows what he is talking about but is not able to present his knowledge well. In doing so, a clever picture is used: that of the Achilles heel. Achilles is a figure from Greek mythology. His mother dipped him into the river Styx, which made him invulnerable. His heel, however, on which she held him, did not come into contact with the water.
Thus, Achill remained vulnerable at this point, which is why the heel was his only weak point. If it is now said in the example that oral presentations are the Achilles headers of the orator, is played on the same myth. This is called allusion (complementary to this: metaphor examples).
Thomas lied to me all the time. I wonder,
that his nose does not look like Pinocchio’s
This example also refers to a well-known story. Pinocchio is a figure created by the author Carlo Collodi. His nose grows when he tells lies. Consequently, the above theorem plays on this fact and thus on the children’s book figure and its characteristics.
He is a true Romeo with regard to women.
William Shakespeare published his tragedy Romeo and Juliet in 1597, a work that tells the tragic love of the two protagonists. The above example thus refers to the hero of the drama: Romeo and his romantic expressions of love to Julia and is therefore an allusion.
Note: The allusion, therefore, indirectly points to the history which is concealed behind it by the naming of a person or of a state of affairs. Accordingly, it transports certain properties related to the particular event to the recipient. In order for the allusion to unfold its effect, what it refers to must be known to the recipient (reader, listener).
Effect and function of the allusion
It is not always a good idea to assign a clear function or effect to a rhetorical stylistic device. Then we run the risk of reducing the style figure every time and do not check whether it actually does. Nevertheless, we would like to give hints.
Overview: Effect, Function and Meaning of Allusion
The allusion is a kind of allusion, since it indirectly refers to a particular fact or a particular person. Usually, these references come from the area of mythology, history or literature.
Consequently, the receiver must be aware of the underlying event, so that the allusion can unfold its full effect. The smaller the degree of recognition of the reference, the smaller the circle of those who can decipher the allusion.
Thus, the stylistic device can quite encode a message. If only a very small circle of the elect is aware of the meaning of an utterance, ie the allusion, the large part of the readership is excluded from the linguistic image.
On the one hand, the allusion can ensure that the reader or the listener of a message is reminded of the corresponding passage, since one often recalls pictorial connections.
On the other hand, it allows the author to explain a complex fact in a few words. If you point out that a software is a Trojan horse, you do not have to explain the background, if the receiver is familiar with the legend around Troy.