Seeing Eye to Eye

“There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends,” writes Homer is his book The Odyssey. In this quote, Homer uses one of the most popular subjects to enhance his epic; the eye.

Dating back to Shakespeare’s first use of the eye in the late 1900’s, the human eye has been used as a metaphorical symbol. The most popular metaphor states that the eye is the window to the soul. The eye resembles the confidence and emotional aspect of a person and can show the innocence in their actions. Shakespeare uses the emotional side of the eye in his play The Merchant of Venice. He wrote, “Sometimes from her eyes I did receive fair speechless messages,” and continues on about what information the narrator collected from the woman’s eye expression. The character knew names, faces, family, and the woman’s social status by just looking into her eyes.

While historic literature includes a multitude of examples presenting eye symbolism, religious writings also feature it. An example of this is, “Your eye is the lamp of your body” (Luke, 11:33-36, The Bible, ESV). This excerpt shows the importance of the eye. The lamp of the body symbolizes how the organ can “shed light” on the viewer’s surroundings and express feelings through size, color, and dilation.

According to psychologist Dr. Jeremy Dean, the human eye’s dilation corresponds to an individual’s emotions and brain activity. Dilation is the action of the pupil of an eye-widening. He states that “the harder your brain works, the more your eyes dilate.” His research has proven that our eye will widen when we are interested in a certain topic (or a certain person). The eye will also have a sudden decrease in size when a person is overwhelmed by information or a situation, thus enforcing the emotions in an individual’s eye.

From an anatomical viewpoint, the eye shows a person the world around them. Some people are timid, while others have a more outgoing personality. Thousands of items can be read through a person’s eye in a fraction of a second. Although literature and real-world research prove that the eye is the window to our souls, it does not always clearly emphasize what a person is feeling.