What is an example of allusion in song lyrics?

Answer

Taylor Swift's song "Love Story" provides a clear example of allusion in song lyrics when she describes herself as "Juliet" and her boyfriend as "Romeo" ("Cause you were Romeo, I was a scarlet letter / And my daddy said stay away from Juliet"). Both references are allusions to the play "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare.

These allusions, or references to other works, deepen the story in the song and provide the listener a swift shorthand understanding of the feelings of the two lovers' families. The song also makes reference to "The Scarlet Letter," a book by Nathaniel Hawthorne when it says "I was a scarlet letter," implying perhaps that her lover's father thought their relationship was scandalous. Another song, "Hallelujah," which is by Leonard Cohen, makes an allusion to the Biblical story of Samson and Delilah.

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