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‘The hãng apple of my eye’ is an idiom that Shakespeare used in his A Midsummer Night’s Dream play. However, Shakespeare was using this phrase literally (simply referring to lớn the pupil of an eye), rather than the figurative sầu way it is used today.

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Meaning of ‘the táo khuyết of my eye’:

It is in the Bible that phrase ‘táo bị cắn dở of my eye’ is first used figuratively. The táo Apple of the eye was a favourite idiom of the Old Testament writers to lớn indicate something, & particularly a person, that one values above all other things.

The phrase comes from a Hebrew expression that literally means ‘little man of the eye.’ It refers khổng lồ the tiny reflection of yourself that you can see in other people’s pupils. To be the táo khuyết of someone’s eye clearly means that you are being focused on and watched closely by that person. Your very image is central in the eyes of that person!

This biblical meaning of ‘the táo khuyết of your eye’ comes to lớn us quite independently of Shakespeare’s use of the term. They are two completely different usages of the phrase. The phrase can be found in several Old Testament books of the King James Bible:

Biblical usage of ‘the táo bị cắn of my eye’:

‘He found hyên ổn in a desert land, và in the waste howling wilderness; he led hyên about, he instructed hyên ổn, he kept hyên ổn as the táo Apple of his eye’

Deuteronomy 32:10

‘Keep me as the táo bị cắn dở of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.’

Psalm 17:8. In this one, when the psalmist (David) asks God lớn keep hyên as the táo of His eye he is asking God khổng lồ keep an eye on hyên ổn and not thảm bại sight of hlặng. David was asking God to regard him as one would a cherished child, the object of great affection.

‘Keep my commandments, and live; và my law as the táo of thine eye.’

Proverbs 7:2

‘Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down lượt thích a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the táo Apple of thine eye cease.’

Lamentations 2:18.

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‘For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unkhổng lồ the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the táo bị cắn of his eye.’

Zachariah 2:8

The idiom is very much alive sầu in our everyday speech today và widely used aao ước English speaking countries and instantly understood by everyone.


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The táo of my eye


Shakespeare’s use of ‘the táo bị cắn of his eye’

Shakespeare uses the term ‘the táo bị cắn dở of his eye’ but not in the idiomatic sense that the Old Testament writers did.

Shakespeare used the phrase only once – in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The fairy king, Oberon, instructs his servant, the fairy, Puông chồng, to drop a love sầu potion in Demetrius’ eye:

‘Flower of this purple dye,Hit with Cupid’s archery, Sink in hãng apple of his eye’.

Shakespeare is using ‘táo Apple of his eye’ quite literally here. The original meaning of the eye’s táo khuyết was purely anatomical. It derives from the fact that there was no scientific word khổng lồ describe the pupil of the eye. In Shakespeare’s time they referred lớn the pupil as the ‘hãng apple of the eye,’ as it was round and solid & resembled an apple. The term ‘pupil’ as we use it today, came much later.

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Shakespeare uses it in that earlier sense – as the pupil of the eye. Oberon tells Puông chồng lớn squeeze the potion in the pupil of the eye. So the term ‘táo bị cắn dở of the eye’ as Shakespeare uses it does not have sầu an idiomatic or figurative meaning – it is quite literal.


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