> Mirar: the wondering (the want of knowing)
> Admire: the wonderment (the imagination of the more)
> Mirror: the wonderful (the awe of one’s self, a time for self reflection, recognising your inner Narcissus
Mirror: Origin Middle English: from Old French mirour, based on Latin mirare ‘look at’. Early senses also included ‘a crystal used in magic’ and ‘a person deserving imitation’. - Oxford Dictionary
Mirror: The two visions of Narcissus
From the classical Latin “to wonder, to admire”, “mirror” (which has the same root as miracle) is thus a noun formed from the verb. “Mirror” as noun and as verb are two words less separable by grammatical distinction then most homonyms. Not only does mirror signify both an act of gazing and the phenomenon generating the reflected gaze, but the term is also applied non-literally to texts. This tradition, growing in metaphoric strength from Plato to Paul to Augustine, is most emphatically illustrated by the popularity of speculum or “mirror” as a title for medieval texts. “The aptness of the name lay partially in the inclusiveness which it implied....So widespread was its use, especially from the twelfth through to sixteenth century, that historians of literature usually dismiss the question of its origin and multiple meaning with a casual reference to uncounted examples of printed books and manuscripts to which the title was applied”.
Why do we look into mirrors?
To see ourselves, of course, to know how we look, what we are. But not precisely, to see or to know how we look to others. For the reflection in the mirror is not what others see; it is reversed. The reflection in the mirror is the gazer as seen by the gazer, an image represented by the chiamus of reflection. The image of the mirror as an icon of vanity grows from this technical truth, as the of Narcissu does not”. (wicked Queen in Snow White)
Ovid gives us the story of of Narcissus in the lines 340-510, Book 3, of the Metamorphoses and the name of Narcissus has become a commonplace for vanity, for self-love in narrative and poetry, existing somewhat discordantly alongside the iconographic tradition of vanity as a woman, usually a woman with a mirror. Not only does Ovid’s story have implications beyond the commonplace for an historicised study of mirror, but the figure of Narcissus raises subtle questions of gender and identity more,
Medusa’s Mirrors: A-M-M
Looking directly at Medusa would turn any mortal man to stone such as the ugliness of Medusa. Perseus was able to avoid being “stoned” by using a mirror to see where Medusa was before killing her while she slept.
The mirror was a shield for Pereus while being a ‘prison’ for Narcissus. Both Pereus and Narcissus used the mirrored gaze as a distortion of truth for their own benefit.