Romeo and Juliet


Classical Allusions



Aurora: In Roman mythology, Aurora, goddess of the dawn, was mother of the west wind Zephyr and of the morning star Eosphorus.  Among the handsome young men whom she carried off as her lovers were Orion and Tithonus.  Aurora asked Zeus to give Tithonus immortality but forgot to include eternal youthfulness with her request.  When Tithonus grew old and feeble, Aurora tired of him and changed him into a grasshopper.  In Greek mythology, Aurora was known as Eos.


Cupid: In Roman mythology and philosophy, Cupid or Amor played many roles.  In the Theogony of Hesiod, Cupid impregnated Gaea (mother earth), and their offspring were Uranus (heaven), the sea, and mountains.  The Birds of Aristophanes contains another theogony, in which Chaos and darkness first existed.  Then night laid an egg in darkness, and Cupid was hatched.  Finally Cupid pertilized Chaos, who gave birth to ocean, heaven, earth and all the gods.  Among early Greek philosophers, Cupid was love, the force responsible for all creation - if present- and for all destruction - if absent. 

As a young playful god, he was often referred to as a son of Aphrodite and was frequently depicted as causing love by shooting a gold-tipped arrow.  Many of his antics are related in the Aeneid of vergil and in the Metamorphosis of Ovid.  In art, heis usually depicted with wings, carrying a bow and wearing a quiver of arrows.  In Greek mythology he is known as Eros.

Echo: In Greek mythology, Echo was a mountain Nymph who was given a speech impediment by the jealous goddess Hera.  Hera suspected her husband Zeus of amorous attentions to the mountain Nymphs.  On one occasion Hera was detained by Echo's lengthy conversation until Hera realized that Echo's purpose was to help Zeus continue his dalliances undisturbed.  So she decreed that Echo's speech would henceforth be limited to repeating what others said.  Echo then fell in love with Narcissus, but her love was unrequited, and she pined away until only the sound of her voice remained.


Cynthia (Artemis): In greek mythology, Artemis was goddess of the hunt; the mistress of wild things; and the protectress of youth and women.  Artemis was associated with chaste love.   She is usually depicted as lean and athletic and is frequently accompanied by a deer.  she was the twin sister of Apollo and the daughter of Zeus and Leto.  Artemis was also identified with the moon, and was later identified with the moon-goddess Selene.  Another of her names was Cynthia, bestowed because she was assumed to have been born on Mt. Cynthus on the island of Delos.  In her role as protectress of women, Artemis was often called upon to ensure a painless and swift death, and women who died in such a manner were said to have been slain by one of her silver arrows.