William Shakespeare’s works stand the test of time because of his skillful use of allusion. Allusions are references to famous people, places, and events that create a deeper level of meaning and complexity in his plays and sonnets.
In Hamlet, Shakespeare makes an allusion to Adam, Alexander the Great, and Julius Caesar. By alluding to these three figures he is calling attention to their common end: death. All three of these great rulers passed away, and so will Hamlet and every other character in the play. This serves to remind the reader of the inevitability of death and its impartiality; great rulers, like Adam, Alexander, and Julius Caesar, can’t escape it.
Shakespeare also uses an allusion to Alexander the Great in his play Julius Caesar. Through this reference to Alexander, Shakespeare shows that even men of tremendous power and greatness can be overthrown. Alexander was a great leader, but he eventually lost power and met his end, and Julius Caesar’s own story follows a similar pattern.
These allusions add a new layer of meaning to Shakespeare’s works and create a more realistic and tragic world. He shows that even great rulers and leaders can be overcome by death, which creates a timeless message that still holds relevance today.