In The Essay

In The Essay

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In The

“In The Knight, the knight is an epitome of human society, yet his
appearance doe not portray his true self. Do you agree?”

In Adrienne Rich’s poem The Knight, the reader is given a brief yet
profound insight into the deceiving nature of humans; how we give a
calm, collected front full of light and purity, yet beneath the
surface we are in truth dark and inevitably mortal. The Knight
portrays what every man, woman and child must inevitably decide on: to
expose their true face or to hide behind a false mask to please
others.

The initial line “A knight rides into the noon” evokes a sense that
the knight, a chivalrous and pure being, is riding gallantly into the
noon, where the sun’s brightness is at its apex. When the knight’s
“helmet points to the sun”, it further reinforces the first line by
exemplifying the light that exists on the knight’s outer coat of
armour. His bright shining armour has the brightness of “a thousand
splintered suns”, dazzling any who would cross him in glorious battle.
“The soles of his feet glitter”, evoking a feeling that every little
detail of his armour blazes, even the soles of his feet, which would
not normally see much light at all because they face down towards the
earth. The knight’s outward appearance illustrates the mask that all
of us put on in front of other people, whether to please or manipulate
others. However, towards the end of the first paragraph, we start to
see that things are not all they seem, that not all that glitters is
gold. Because “under his crackling banner he rides like a ship in
sail” gives the sense that although his task is underway, his
“crackling banner” symbolises that the knight’s image is starting to
give way to what he is truly b...


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...the same peers. Rich evokes
the feeling that not everyone is willing to give up their false image
and that they hide behind their mask to be praised by society. Only a
select few go against the false mask and live a true life free from
lies and being a crowd-pleaser, but at the same time being shunned by
their peers.

In the end, the knight may go either way, living a false life and a
dying a false death; or he could live a false life but atone himself
by revealing his true self in death. Without his armour to conceal
him, his true form would be exposed to the world and he could stop
living a lie. Inevitably however it is out of his hands, he cannot
choose whether or not to shatter his own armour in an intense
battlefield. However, the knight’s true form might be known, and he
might find that one measure of peace that all people seek, in death,
at last.

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