In the physics inherited from Aristotle an eye beam generated in the eye was thought to be responsible for the sense of sight. The eye-beam darted by the imagined basilisk, for instance, was the agent of its lethal power, given the technical term extramission.
The exaggerated eyes of fourth-century Roman emperors like Constantine the Great (illustration) reflect this character. The concept found expression in poetry into the 17th century, most famously in John Donne's poem "The Extasie." Later in the century Newtonian optics and increased understanding of the structure of the eye rendered the old concept invalid, but it was revived as an aspect of monstrous superhuman capabilities in popular culture of the 20th century.
The emission theory of sight seemed to be corroborated by geometry and was reinforced by Robert Grosseteste.
Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis", read in the light of contemporary conceptions of vision, founds a rhetoric of like kindnesses and loving mutuality is predicates loving mutuality upon a conceit of visual reciprocation achieved in the exchange of eyebeams.
In Algernon Swinburne's "Atalanta in Calydon" the conception is revived for poetic purposes, enriching the poem's pagan context in the Huntsman's invocation of Artemis:
Hear now and help, and lift no violent hand,
But favourable and fair as thine eye's beam,
Hidden and shown in heaven".
In T.S. Eliot's rose garden episode that introduces "Burnt Norton" eyebeams persist in the fusion of possible pasts and presents like unheard music:
The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery
And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
The New Zealand poet Edward Tregear instanced "the lurid eye-beam of the angry Bull"— Taurus of the zodiac— among the familiar stars above the alien wilderness of New Zealand.
In computer graphics, the concept of eye beams is fruitfully resurrected in ray tracing (in which the bouncing of eye beams around a scene is simulated computationally).
... Eye beam In Godzilla Final Wars, Gigan could fire a red beam from his eye that scattered into a shot-gun like blast of energy ... along with the ability to fire a focused red eye beam a greater distance, was present in Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee and its subsequent sequels ... Gigan can be seen firing his eye beam in poster artwork for Godzilla vs ...
... Di Gi Charat-デ・ジ・キャラット Age 10 Suffix nyo-にょ Special ability Eye Beam (Me-Kara Bîmu-目からビーム) Voiced by Asami Sanada (Japanese), Chris Simms (English ... nyu-にゅ born8 years Special ability Eye Beam (in training-めからびーむ) Voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro (Japanese), Mariette Sluyter (English ... He is always being attacked by Dejiko's Eye-Beam, sometimes just for annoying her ...
Famous quotes containing the words beam and/or eye:
“How can one beam alone support a house?”
“If you meet a sectary, or a hostile partisan, never recognize the dividing lines; but meet on what common ground remains,if only that the sun shines, and the rain rains for both; the area will widen very fast, and ere you know it the boundary mountains, on which the eye had fastened, have melted into air.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)