Existentialism as Exemplified in ‘the Seventh Seal’ Essay

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Existentialism as Exemplified in ‘The Seventh Seal’
The Seventh Seal is a 1957 Swedish film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. The film offers interwoven storyline. It starts with a game of chess between a medieval knight, Antonius Block, and Death – in which if Block won, Death will prolong the knight’s life. This game goes on in intermittent times.
The knight is accompanied by his squire, Jöns, as they go back to the knight’s castle to be reunited with his wife. Throughout their journey, they come across various characters and people in the village who are struggling amidst the impending death brought about by the Black Plague.
Block and Jöns met Jof and Mia, the couple who work as actors. There they have conversed with each
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He found meaning to his life, not with religion or the belief of a Supreme Being, but through giving importance to life and his own existence regardless of the outcomes. In fact, he was able to accept Death when he was faced by him. Jöns said, “But feel, to the very end, the triumph of being alive!” giving greater emphasis on his existence rather than his upcoming death.
Another interesting part was that though God was not present in the film, Death was personified. Block challenged Death in a game of chess in a chance that he could prolong his life. The game is a symbol for a mortal’s efforts to escape Death – obviously to no avail. Death is cunning – taunting Death means to involve one’s self into a fight that could not be won. Once Death knocks on your door, there is no escaping.
Clearly, the film tackles the idea of existentialism – existence precedes essence. A sensitive topic to argue upon, Bergman was able to present this side of existentialism through his movie in a very tasteful manner. Various symbolism and imagery were used in representing different important messages and themes.
The audience may have an epiphany during several striking scenes. The most striking scenes include: the flagellants imitating the Dance of Death; the young girl condemned for allegedly being able to converse with the Devil; and lastly, the scene where the Death leads the knight and his company in a Dance of Death.
The aim of Bergman, to