When quizzing my college students on rhetorical terms, I’ve sometimes resorted to providing a couple easy questions–a few answers they’ll easily recognize. This year, I included one I’ve used in the past with good success.
This quiz was matching. Students were to find an allusion–a reference to a biblical, literary, or historical person or event–in a listing of other examples of other devices. In his famous speech
to the Virginia Assembly, Patrick Henry advised his listeners to “suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss.”
Henry used other biblical allusions, quoting the prophet Jeremiah
, “Peace, peace when there is no peace,” accusing the colonists of not taking the British seriously, and Psalm 119
–“I have one lamp by which my feet are guided.”
I didn’t expect the typical student to pick up on those allusions. But there has been one example of allusion that nearly all of them could answer; They knew that Judas had betrayed Jesus with a kiss.
Not so today.