Biblical Reference in “Pale Horse, Pale Rider”

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, an 1887 painting by Viktor Vasnetsov: Depicted from right to left are Conquest, War, Famine, and Death

I find the title of the book quite interesting and after some quick research discovered its Biblical reference to the four horsemen of the apocalypse from Revelation 6:8: “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.” The ashen, yellowish green color is commonly associated with cadaver and bones, vividly depicting the concept of death. In the Bible, the Four Horsemen are to set a divine apocalypse upon the world as harbingers of the Last Judgment. This destined ordeal resonates with the looming, imminent death that hangs over protagonists Miranda and Adam throughout Pale Horse, Pale Rider. It might also suggest a fatalist post war views of Porter, having lived through two hardships, the World War I and the deadly 1918 influenza.

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