Symbols in Blok’s “Twelve”
The poem "Twelve" by Alexander Blok was written in January 1918. The poem was written as an objective historical assessment that was given while reflecting on the events that happened in October of 1917. This was a period that fell between the Russian failure in World War I and the revulsion of Civil War that followed. The poem “Twelve” reflects the uncertainty and nervousness that educated Russians felt during the beginning of the Revolution. Alexander Blok was known as a symbolist writer. The lively, multi-valued images and symbols are an important part in analysis of the poem by Alexander Blok. The realm of “Twelve” is revolutionary Russia in small-scale version which contains ordinary imagery. The ordinary imagery does not seem to strike the reader as important symbols since it includes a blizzard, crossroads, darkness, a pathetic love triangle, twelve marching men, murder, and a vision of Christ. The color scheme in the work is carefully considered by Blok and is limited to three symbolic colors; black, white, and red. Each color has an associated meaning that Blok is trying to portray. Black is considered a symbol of night, darkness, death and violence, white represents purity, the spirit and snow, and red represents the typical color of revolution and blood, fire and destruction. The first image of interest, the blizzard, is the essential, irrational storm that blinds everyone about their surroundings. The blizzard is blinding the people in regards to the Revolutions. The Revolution is a gory and unusual event that stands outside of what has been experienced before in time and space. The Revolution also signifies when things can become the opposite of what they usually are and when traditional laws do not apply. The people during the Revolution are blinded by these changes like the blizzard blinds one from the surroundings. The blizzard is not the only significant symbol in the poem but it plays a part in a deeper...
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