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What allusions can be found in Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death"...

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What allusions can be found in Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech? (Address to the Virginia Convention)

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An allusion is a brief or casual reference to some famous person (real or fictional), quotation, work of art, or other such well-known thing.

In this speech, the allusions are mainly taken from the Bible, but there is also one from classical literature/mythology.

Some allusions in this speech (in order)

Song of the siren -- from the women who tried to tempt Odysseus and his crew to their doom.

Having eyes, see not... -- Mark 8:18

Lamp to guide my feet -- Psalm 119:105

Betrayed with a kiss -- Refers to how Judas betrayed Jesus by kissing him

Battle to the strong -- Ecclesiastes 9:11

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Song of the siren

Betrayed with a kiss

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Patrick Henry's fiery and dynamic speech against the reviled Stamp Act, by which the British Parliament instituted taxes on all newspapers and public documents, set him apart as a man of dynamic locution. Furthermore, his address to the Virginia Convention in 1775 certainly has gained him historical recognition. This speech was one made as Americans came near the breaking point as Britain furthered its taxes and made other harsh measures, referred to as the Intolerable Acts. His speech contains several allusions, or references to other known works.

In addition to those mentioned, in the first paragraph, Patrick alludes to God as the "majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings." He later suggests "an appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts." This allusion is to Psalm 84:3:

Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.


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