Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I watch film science fiction The Blade Runer and man says this sentence. he is holding eye in his hand. I see in in a subtitle but I am not understanding this meaning. Can my friends in a Language and Usage website help me understanding meaning? Is this an idiom of English Language?

share|improve this question
1  
What both answers so far were missing (but this was fixed by a third one entered while I was typing this comment) is that the eyes were used by the speaker, an android, but created by the person the speaker is talking to. See Wikipedia. So when he says "what I have seen with your eyes", he means it literally. –  Peter Shor Jul 9 at 16:39
    
@PeterShor I was typing. –  Frank Jul 9 at 16:41

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The 'person' that says that line is "Roy Batty", he is a replicant, a robot that looks like a human, called a Nexus-6

The old man he was talking is "Hannibal Chew", he works for the company that makes replicants making artificial eyes.

When they meet, Batty wants to know about incept dates (a built in mechanism to prevent the replicants living for a long time).

Chew doesn't know anything about incept dates and says to Batty "You Nexus, huh? I design your eyes." [1]

Batty holds one of the artificial eyes (not his own or one Chew's real eyes) and tells the old man "Chew, if only you could see what I've seen with your eyes" [2]

So he means, if only Chew could see what Batty has seen by using one of Chew's artificial eyes, which in almost all senses could not possibly be a common idiom in English at the moment (but it sounds very like one).


[1] Hong, James (as Hannibal Chew), perf. Blade Runner. Dir. Ridley Scott, Writ. Hampton Francher, David Webb Peoples, and Philip K. Dick. Warner Bros (USA), 1982. Film. 9 Jul 2014. http://bladerunnerthemovie.warnerbros.com/.

[2] Hauer, Rutger (as Roy Batty), perf. Blade Runner. Dir. Ridley Scott, Writ. Hampton Francher, David Webb Peoples, and Philip K. Dick. Warner Bros (USA), 1982. Film. 9 Jul 2014. http://bladerunnerthemovie.warnerbros.com/.

share|improve this answer
    
Thank you MR Frank for the promptly anser to my question. This is great website for ansering every questions! Amazing! –  The Beefer Fan Jul 9 at 20:06
    
+1 for a nice clear explanation. I'm a big fan of the film and for me this is a really significant moment in it. Roy is an unusually philosophical machine, and this punning turn of phrase provides the first (and a nicely subtle) inkling that the viewer gets of that. –  Rupe Jul 10 at 0:23

The "with your eyes" at the end can be omitted, so we can just say "if only you could see what I have seen." The meaning should be pretty clear like this, it can even be understood as "if only you could experience what I have experienced." This is not an idiom, just a sentence.

share|improve this answer

The sentence would be clearer as:

If only you could see, with your eyes, what I have seen with mine.

Or more simply:

If only you could see what I have seen.

Or more clearly:

I wish you could see what I have seen.

or

It would be good if you could see what I have seen.

The message is that I have seen something that I wish you could have seen.

But if the character is holding an eye in his hand then this sounds like a joke (pun; double-meaning). I'm guessing that the person he is addressing cannot see with his eye because he no longer has it...

share|improve this answer
    
No, in this case, the man the speaker is talking to is a genetic engineer who quite literally fabricated the speaker's eyes - so they are "what I have seen with your [i.e., that you made but I now use] eyes," and the speaker is handling another fabricated eye which is not yet in use (and handling it in a threatening and intimidating way). –  outis nihil Jul 9 at 17:30
    
@outisnihil I see. Then in that case the original statement meant something different from what I supposed, and it would have been better expressed as If only you could see what I have seen using your eyes. And your explanation here is an answer to the question about the meaning. –  Drew Jul 9 at 18:08
1  
it's a rather deliberate play against expectations by the screenwriter, a play against an idiom ("see with my eyes") that goes back at least to ancient time (e.g., Petronius, Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, "I have seen with these, my own eyes, the Sibyl hanging in a cage/bottle"). –  outis nihil Jul 9 at 18:12

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.