Analysis

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 146

The Non-Existent Knight is a satirical treatment of knighthood in the form of a story about Agilulf, a knight who exists without a human body. He exists only as a suit of armor, which makes the armor itself the embodiment of knighthood.

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Agilulf, as a suit of armor, is portrayed as the perfect knight. He is the model of chivalry, romance, and righteousness, and he is elevated to near sainthood, as he is believed to be infallible and flawless. Agilulf is described as a human being, but his suit of armor, which is all that exists, is only a symbol of the knightly ideal. Because the suit of armor is often inadequate, however, the author, Italo Calvino, seems to be saying that knighthood is all show, that knights are merely human, and that knightly armor projects an image of knighthood that fails to acknowledge human weakness.

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