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Word Count: 430
A literary allusion is a reference to a famous piece of literature with which the literate cultured reader is expected to be familiar Examples of this from the play MacBeth by William Shakespeare would be well known titles such as Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury and Out Out by Robert Frost One might guess that these writers chose to use a literary allusion from MacBeth to give greater meaning to his respective work Frost perhaps wanted to convey MacBeths feelings on life and death without having to actually put them into his poem Robert Frosts poem Out Out in the literal sense about a young boy who is injured while sawing some wood His hand is severed and eventually died from the wound The last line of the poem reads And they since they Were not the one dead turned to their affairs This is upsetting because the people do not take time to mourn or really reflect on what has happened The people simply return to their work because they were not the one who died This poem is symbolic of life and how short it is No one knows when he or she is going to die it could happen at any moment From Shakespeares tragedy MacBeth comes the famous quote which Frost extracted his title And all out yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death Out out brief candle Lifes but a walking shadow a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more It is a tale Told by an idiot full of sound and fury Signifying nothing MacBeth gives this speech after learning of his wifes death He speaks of what lifes meaning is to him After the many horrible things he has done and the people he has killed life is not very special
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