Last Updated 06 Jan 2022

Literal vs. Figurative Blindness

Category Analogy, Blindness, God
Words 370 (1 page)

The importance of figurative vision as opposed to literal vision to the influence of an individual is emphasized by the power inner vision yields, even over the power of the gods. Homer first highlights the power of inner sight in the situation of Agamemnon and Aigisthos. This example demonstrates that even the authority of the Greek gods cannot overcome the imbalance of power caused by the lack of figurative vision, for “the gods may love a man, but they can’t help him when cold death comes to lay him on his bier,” (III, 255-256).

The gods attempt to save Agamemnon from the consequences of his figurative blindness by warning Aigisthos against the betrayal, but even the interference of the gods cannot assist Agamemnon when he is weakened by lack of knowledge. Another circumstance where inner vision is indirectly shown to be more powerful than the strength of the gods themselves is in the case of Demodokus.

Demodokus’ example is unique in the fact that it can be argued that Demodokus’ literal blindness is a demonstration of the power of the gods to keep mortal power in balance, for though Demodokus was “that man of song whom the Muse cherished,” it was “by her gift he knew the good of life and the evil- for she who lent him her sweetness also made him blind,”(VIII, 67-70).

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However, this only bolsters the point that inner sight brings one level with, if not above, the Greek gods themselves in terms of influence. If not, the Muse would have had not felt the need to take away literal sight to limit the power wielded by Demodokus through inner vision. The gods themselves are the product of strong inner vision in conjunction with literal vision.

While they do possess magical powers, it is their inner vision that truly gives them power over mortals. Clearly, the strength of inner sight, or the weakness caused by a lack thereof, is a force that even the power of the gods cannot overcome. It is clear that an eye for an eye does not steady the imbalance of power caused by a mortal possessing or lacking inner vision, for an eye with figurative sight is far more powerful than an eye with literal vision.

Literal vs. Figurative Blindness essay

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