Difference between Allusion and Illusion

Key Difference: An allusion is a literary device that is used to make a reference to a place, person, or something that happened. An illusion is a distortion of the senses. It takes advantage of how the brain normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation, and tricks it to believe something impossible.

 Allusion and Illusion might look similar and even sound similar but they are completely different. Allusion is a figure of speech. It is a reference, which means that it refers to something else. An allusion is a statement that indicates something else without actually mentioning it directly.

An allusion is a literary device that is used to make a reference to a place, person, or something that happened. The event itself can be real or imaginary, and the allusion can refer to anything, including paintings, opera, folk lore, mythical figures, or religious manuscripts. It can be said that there are two main types of allusions, direct and inferred. The direct allusion directly indicates or compares with something, whereas an inferred allusion subtly hints as the comparison.

Allusion can be very helpful for an author and can help engage the reader. It can also help the reader remember the message or theme of the passage. Additionally, an allusion also allows an author to give an example or get a point across without going into a lengthy discussion.

An illusion, on the other hand, is completely different. Think about a magician who appears to be levitating or makes something disappear. Of course, these things do not happen. He does not levitate and the object does not disappear, but it certainly looks that way. The magician makes us think it is possible because he has created an illusion.

An illusion is a distortion of the senses. It takes advantage of how the brain normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation, and tricks it to believe something impossible. It plays on perception and the general assumptions that the brain makes during the perception.

Comparison between Allusion and Illusion:

 

Allusion

Illusion

Definition (Merriam-Webster)

A statement that refers to something without mentioning it directly

  • Something that looks or seems different from what it is : something that is false or not real but that seems to be true or real

 

  • An incorrect idea : an idea that is based on something that is not true

Parts of Speech

Noun

Noun

Type

Literary device, used to reference something. It is used to paint more of an obscure picture.

An optical illusion. It is a distortion of the senses, revealing how the brain normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation.

In a sentence:

  • The novel's title is an allusion to Shakespeare’s play.
  • The lyrics contain biblical allusions.
  • She made allusion to her first marriage.
  • The magician showed a great illusion.
  • The optical illusion blew my mind.
  • They used paint to create the illusion of metal.
  • The video game is designed to give the illusion that you are in control of an airplane.
  • The video game gives an illusion of life.

Example

  • Don’t act like a Romeo.
  • This place is like a Garden of Eden.
  • This is your Pandora’s box.
  • I was surprised his nose was not growing like Pinocchio’s.
  • It looked like his head was floating.
  • The painting looks like a woman and a rabbit.
  • The mirrors make the room look big.

Image Courtesy: driverlayer.com, zoominmedical.com

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