For my final blog post, I want to further discuss how I view, (forgive the pun), the use of eyes within many of the works presented to us in this class. As we discussed while discussing Blade Runner, in particular, there is a massive emphasis on the physical eye, as well as the act of seeing. This is exemplified by the fact that it is often the glowing eyes of the genetically engineered beings that cause differentiation to be made between creation and human. As we discussed in class, the reason Roy seems to have an affinity for attacking the eyes of his victims might emphasize the idiom, “the eyes are the windows to the soul” – meaning, eyes are a form of connectivity. By linking eyes, it can be stated that you are connecting, at least at an emotional level, to that other person. Which is why it is imperative that Roy destroy the eye, or window, to the soul, as it robs the person of far more than their life. This is a fascinating idea, particularly in what it means to have genetically created eyes. The need to connect with another via sight, however, is not a new concept.
One of my favorite examples of emotional connection through the physical eye is in Chaucer’s “The Knight’s Tale”. There are two very distinct passages that speak to this phenomena:
1075 That through a window, thickly set with many a bar
1076 Of iron, great and square as any beam,
1077 He cast his eye upon Emelye,
1078 And with that he turned pale and cried, “A!”
1079 As though he were stabbed unto the heart.
1095 This prison did not cause me to cry out,
1096 But I was hurt right now through my eye
1097 Into my heart, so that it will be the death of me.
1098 The fairness of that lady whom I see
1099 Yonder in the garden roaming to and fro
1100 Is cause of all my crying and my woe.
As stated within Chaucer on Love, Knowledge and Sight by Norman Klassen, “Chretien de Troyes discusses the importance of vision at length in the romance Cliges. There, the eyes serve a double function as perceivers of beauty and as active agents. As agents, they strike through the eyes and enter the heart of the person whose gaze they meet” (86). As it can be read in “The Knight’s Tale”, love requires sight. When you look upon someone, a piece of you, as it was believed, literally enters their heart through the eye. In this way, the eye has a very real and truly physical consequence in “The Knight’s Tale”. I would, however, argue that this is of extreme consequence for the majority of the works that we have read for class.
Although it cannot be argued that a literal part of oneself enters the hearts of modern romantic literature, the eyes still have an enormous stake in forming emotional bonds. Frankenstein, for example, is absolutely obsessed with the yellow of the creature’s eyes, and the terror that Victor finds in them. Therefore, by Roy focusing on destroying the eyes in particular, I believe it is speaking to the necessity of eyes to form human connections. Although eyesight is not as imperative as it is within “The Knight’s Tale”, it is a valid form of creating human attachment. If the world is merely a creation of our perception, to forcefully rid our bodies of the main organ for perception is crippling.
So I am curious – now that we have finished the semester and have read an abundance of literature that seem obsessed with sight or what is seen (in particular, I am also fascinated with the technology of photography in Memento), how is the physical eye and sight handled throughout the course?