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New Beginning Essay

1427 words - 6 pages

A 1957 film, written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, a Swedish writer, producer, and director, The Seventh Seal concentrates on Antonius Block’s journey following his return from the Crusade to Sweden at a time when the country was plagued by the Black Death. In addition to displaying the knight on his journey home, the film focuses on the continuous chess match he has against the personification of Death, who has come to take him away. The use of multiple chess scenes between Block and Death as a metaphor for Block’s attempt to elongate his life to find the meaning in life not only leads the knight to go on a quest in search of “knowledge”, but at the same time, allows the important theme ...view middle of the document...

Thus, the game of chess gives Block hope and opportunities to avoid death at the moment and allow him to fulfill his goal of finding meaning his life by embarking on a journey before he is confronted with death. Block is not afraid of dying as he is aware that no one can escape death and is ready to accept that faith, but his spirit just isn’t ready to give up on life yet. As a result, by inserting chess scene and creating respite from the chess match, Bergman not only is able to continue the gloomy mood that has been created from the emergence of Death, who is looking to take Block’s life, but also sets Block on an odyssey of searching for life’s meaning with a newly gained hope created from getting the light pieces in the chess match.
After he enters the church to find a meaning in life, Block expresses the frustration of his inability to find a purpose in life by asking for knowledge of God’s presence to a priest across the fence: “I want knowledge! Not faith, not assumption, but knowledge. I want God to stretch out his hand, uncover his face and speak to me.” Such revelation suggests the feeling of emptiness is having a negative influence on the knight as. Furthermore, by vowing that he will use the respite from chess match against Death for “one meaningful act”, he acknowledges that he will use this hard-earned, precious time to make an impact through helping other people. Following his intention to make a difference, Block suggests that through “a combination of bishop and knight that [Death] hasn’t noticed and [beat] him in the next move.” By stating bishop, who connects religion to find purpose in daily life, and knight, a warrior in the battlefield, as key light (white) chess pieces to defeating Death, Block is able to gain confidence, hope, and optimism with the help from the game of chess, which turns out to be transient as Death, disguised as a priest, reveals himself after listening to Block’s strategies by casting his dark shadow upon the knight’s face. As a result, the chess match and the continuous battle between light and dark that emerges from the game of chess represent constant swing of emotion between hope and fear, creating a suspense in the knight’s journey as he endeavors to accomplish his mission of finding meaning in life from the respite created from their chess match.
With Block revealing his strategies to Death, the entire momentum on the chessboard swings, and his mind is filled with fear as he is unsure what his next plan will be; however, once Block leaves the darkness inside the church to the sunshine of the outer world and brightness and warmth that Jof’s family, who offers milk and wild strawberries, provides, the knight is able to come a realization and find an answer to a question of meaning in life he’s been searching for from God: helping others and...

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