How Does Randall Jarrell Use the Imagery in Durer‚Äôs Engraving of the Knight, the Devil and Death to Symbolically Convey a Philosophy of Life Using Powerful Poetic Devices?
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How does Randall Jarrell use the imagery in Durer’s engraving of the knight, the devil and death to symbolically convey a philosophy of life using powerful poetic devices?
‘The knight, Death and the Devil’ poem written by Randall Jarrell, based on the engraving by German artist ‘Albert Durer’ depicting a valiant knight, on horseback treading along the path of life. A path beset on all sides by many obstacles, and the dark forces ranged against the knight in his journey. Created in 1513, Durer’s engraving’s key characters include a Knight in armour, riding along a narrow road with the grinning devil at one end and on the other, a figure of death in the form of deceased knight. Jarrell uses the elements of the vivid imagery contained in…show more content… ‘Companioned so, the Knight moves through this world’
Thus protected he is able to
‘He listens in assurance, has no glance
To spare for them, but look’s past steadily’
The fourth and final stanza portrays externalizations of our feelings for Death and the Devil thus making them allegorical figures.
‘Death of his own flesh, set up outside him
The flesh of his own soul, set up outside him’
Jarrell uses repetition as a device in the final stanza to emphasize the importance and allegory of these figures towards the Knight.
‘His being accuses him –yet his face is firm’
The alliteration of face and firm exaggerates the strength of the Knight, to reinforce the meaning of his power in the reader’s mind.
‘In resolution, in absolute persistence
The folds of smiling do for steadiness
The face is its own fate—a man does what he must—
And the body underneath it says I am.’ Randall Jarrell includes another allegory to explain how the Knight kept a steady state of mind to strengthen the body to not display his real feelings in his soul. His look completed him, and determining his own fate by forcing a straight face.
Imagery has been used historically to convey morality. Jarrell is using imagery in a similar way to reinforce and decorate the poem in a profound way by contrasting the robust and valiant figure of the Knight onto everything that we come