Can you explain the meaning of the following quote from Ingmar Bergman's Through a Glass Darkly?

We draw a magic circle around ourselves to shut out everything that doesn’t fit our secret games. Each time life breaks through the circle, the games become puny and ridiculous, so we draw a new circle and build new defences.


2 Answers 2


In Wicca, it is common to draw a protective circle on the ground inside which to conduct some ritual. The purpose is to prevent the distractions of the outside world from breaking the concentration of those within.

Although I don't believe the film is suggesting that any sort of magic is being practised, the circle of protection is used as a metaphor for the mental walls created by Karin in her slow retreat from reality.


David(father) is talking about himself. He was happy about recognition of his book when his wife died. He fled when he found out his daughter was ill. He limited himself to a magic circle, i.e. his so-called art. But his art is not genuine. It is just a escape to avoid unpleasant situation. This quote also can explain some people's behavior toward hard conditions.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .