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Symbol Analysis

The dungeon in Chillon is, by and large, really dark and dim. Yet there's a ray of light that finds its way into the dungeon at various moments in the poem. What might that light represent? A glimmer of hope? Is it like Galadriel's vial of light in The Lord of the Rings, that gives Frodo light "in dark places, when all other light goes out," and everything seems hopeless?

  • Line 30: Even the "ray" of light that makes it into the dungeon seems "imprisoned." This personification makes it seem like nothing that enters the dungeon can ever escape again – not even a ray of light.
  • Line 31: The light is personified again in this line, as the speaker suggests that the ray of light has gotten lost.
  • Line 34: This could be a personification, since the light is said to "creep" along the floor of the dungeon, but you could also read it as a simpler metaphor, in which the light is compared to an animal or insect that "creeps," rather than to a human being crawling along the floor.
  • Lines 263-264: The light is again personified as the speaker describes it "creeping" again along the floor.

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