Symbolism in Eliot's "The Lifted Veil".
"The Lord G-d called out to man and said to him, "where are you?" He replied, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid (Genesis 3:10)." A common interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve, is that their story is the beginning of man's self-centered nature and hence the inner dwellings of the subconscious. In The Lifted Veil, Eliot explores how a knowingness of someone else's inner thoughts brings about fear. Every person has thoughts that they want no one to see. When one senses that someone else has recognized the true thoughts of the subconscious, the natural reaction since the time of Adam is to "hide" because now they feel completely vulnerable. The implications of the very title of The Lifted Veil, is associated with disclosure and secrecy. When this concealment of the soul and subconscious is lifted than secrecy and guilt set in. The significance of the title of this story is symbolic of the hidden meanings in this book; moreover, the hidden meaning of our minds and the spirit world.
Latimer, with his power of insight knows more than anybody does the danger in revealing too much about one's self. He mentions in his "last hours," how he has "never fully unbosomed myself to any human being" (Eliot 4). Latimer is all too aware of the dangers of someone peering in upon your most secretive thoughts. Latimer becomes obsessed with secrecy of his own "veil" being lifted. He is well aware that when he can read anothers thoughts than they are completely vulnerable to him. This is also the reason why Latimer is so mesmerized by Bertha before he can finally read into her thoughts.
The title suggests the lifting of the veil ritual at bridal ceremonies. The woman wears a white gown to symbolize virginity. Virginity suggests innocence, sensitivity, and ignorance of the ways of the world. Hence, vulnerability of the virgin bride who puts trust in the groom who will take her virginity away.