Further information: Light and darkness
Ivan Kramskoy's Inconsolable grief: In many cultures, wearing of dark colors shows grief
As a poetic term, darkness can also mean the presence of shadows, evil, or depression.
Religious texts often use darkness to make a visual point. In the Bible, darkness was the second to last plague (Exodus 10:21) and the location of “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:12) The Qur’an has been interpreted to say that those who transgress the bounds of what is right are doomed to “burning despair and ice-cold darkness.” (Nab 78.25)
In Chinese philosophy Yin is the feminine part of the Taijitu and is represented by a dark lobe.
The use of darkness as a rhetorical device has a long standing tradition. Shakespeare, working in the 16th and 17th centuries, made a character called Satan, the “prince of darkness” (King Lear: III, iv) and gave darkness jaws with which to devour love. (A Midsummer Night’s Dream: I, i) Chaucer, a 14th century Middle English writer, wrote that knights must cast away the “workes of darkness.” Dante described hell as “solid darkness stain’d.”
In Old English there were three words that could mean darkness: heolstor, genip, and sceadu. Heolstor also meant “hiding-place” and became holster. Genip meant “mist” and fell out of use like many strong verbs. It is however still used in the Dutch saying "in het geniep" which means secretly. Sceadu meant “shadow” and remained in use. The word dark eventually evolved from the word deorc.
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