The Seventh Seal an Allegory for Death

by M-Gillies

In the movie The Seventh Seal, Death appears to the knight and tells him it is his time. The knight challenges Death to a chess game for his life.

“Who are you,” asked a knight, resting near the shore of a beach upon seeing a pale, black-cowled figure.

“I am Death,” the man replied.

“Have you come for me?”

“I have been for a long time, at your side,” Death said.

It is after this meeting, that the knight challenges Death personified to a match of chess in an attempt to forestall his own demise, thus setting the stage for Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 Swedish film, The Seventh Seal.

The film, heavily metaphorical and allegorical in its depictions of death and the human condition, follows the knight’s journey home as he returns from the crusades to a plague ravaged Sweden. Along with his squire, the two men encounter a number of characters, who in their own way are stalked by Death’s presence.

Bound by a facade of symbolism, the film depicts the various beliefs and views of deaths through the eyes of each character, who all learn that at the insistences of Death, the game of life must come to an end, with Death stating, “Nothing and no one can escape me.”

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