Thus, Blake presents an explicit condemnation not only of organized religion, but specifically those religions which seek official legitimization and control over non-adherents; considering that the Church of England was (and is) the official religion of England, whose leader simultaneously serves as the head of state, Blake's condemnation of religions and religious adherents who presume to "[govern] the unwilling" must be recognized for the rebellious and almost revolutionary statement that it is.
Following from his clear disgust with religious piety that seeks to control human desire and potential, Blake provides a series of "Proverbs of Hell," and these proverbs present what are arguably Blake's most creative, incisive, and entertaining challenges to traditional interpretations of religion in general and Christianity in particular. Examining some of these proverbs in detail will serve to expand one's understanding of Blake's particular moral or ethical position, which stands in opposition to the moral dictates of…… [Read More]
William Blake's "The Lamb" is part of his manuscript for Songs of Innocence (Erdman, 1988, p. 72). As such, there is a light, jubilant tone rendered throughout, which pervades the poem's theme, subject, narrator, and setting. Within this poem, an unidentified narrator directly addresses a lamb. The principle motif that this work revolves about is the time honored conceit of a lamb representing Jesus Christ and the mercy and kindness of God himself. Therefore, this poem is principally about the goodness and divinity of all creatures as evinced by their innate connection towards God, and Blake utilizes various aspects of the poem's setting, mood, title, narrator, and literary devices to reinforce this principle theme.
Structurally, Blake divides the poem into a pair of stanzas, both of which use a copious amount of anaphora. The primary stanza is about the literal lamb whom the narrator is addressing; the second stanza is…… [Read More]
Although he was misunderstood and underappreciated throughout his lifetime, William Blake and his work only truly became influential after his death in 1827 (William Blake, 2014). Although he is best known for his poetry, Blake also created a significant amount of art work and other publications throughout his life. Despite the fact that his work found no profound audience during his life, Williams Blake was nonetheless a visionary, whose work and life combined to make of him an interesting and important poet, even to this day, nearly two centuries after his death.
William Blake found his calling already at an early age. He was born on 28 November 1757 in Soho, London. From an early age, he reported seeing "visions," the first of which the one of the first was the "face of God" he reported to see at his window at the age of four. While his…… [Read More]
William lake was born in London in 1757, the son of a hosier. He attended a drawing school and was subsequently apprenticed to an engraver from 1772-9, before attending the Royal Academy as a student from 1779 to 1780. During this time he made his living as an engraver, producing illustrations for the book trade, and was also composing and illustrating his own poetical works. He married Catherine oucher in 1782. His first published work was Poetical Sketches (1783), the appearance of which was funded by members of the intellectual circle of artistic and literary friends with which lake had become associated in the early 1780s. In 1784 lake established his own printing shop, which was commercially unsuccessful, failing in 1787. lake continued to earn a living by engraving for the commercial publishing market, but also worked on his own poems and engravings. In 1788 he conceived of combining poetical…… [Read More]
illiam Blake is usually classified with the Romantic movement in English literature -- which coalesced in the revolutionary climate of the late eighteenth century, and roughly spanned the period from 1780 to 1830. The Romantic movement spanned a time of enormous social change in Britain. Not only was this a period of time that witnessed revolutions in America (1776) and France (1789), Britain itself would have to subdue a rebellion in Ireland (1798) quickly followed by the imperial annexation of its neighboring island by parliamentary Act of Union. In the meantime, the religious life of Britain was still in an uproar, due to the disenfranchisement of both Roman Catholics and "dissenters" like Blake himself, who were attracted to fringe Protestant sects or creeds (such as Quakerism or Unitarianism) which were not in full doctrinal accord with the established church. But the social condition of Great Britain in this period was…… [Read More]
William lake was never fully appreciated in his own time but is still an influence on literary, political and theological analyses long after his death. While the amount of modern literary criticism that now exists should hold testament to his importance, lake and his visions, pastoral-like settings and illuminated writings shaped the modern literary canon and paved the way for others. Specifically his works "The Divine Image," its companion poem "A Divine Image" and "The Human Abstract" cited within his collections Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794) provide an open and continuous platform for interpretation and criticism.
William lake was born in 1757 in London to a family of meager means. As a boy, his parents enrolled him in a drawing school in 1768 but the family funds only enabled him to stay there for four years before he was to become an engraver's apprentice. He became…… [Read More]
ecause he believed that that creation followed a cosmic catastrophe and a fall of spiritual beings into matter, lake discusses Gnosticism, a multi-faceted religious movement that has run parallel to mainstream Christianity (Friedlander, 1999). Unlike most other Gnosticizers, lake sees the world as a wonderful place, but one that would ultimately give way to a restored universe. For lake, the purpose of creation is as a place for personal growth, in preparation for the beginning of our real lives. While the natural world contains much that is gentle and innocent ("Songs of Innocence"), those who are experienced with life ("Songs of Experience") understand that life can be terrible and frightening.
lake's poem, "The Tyger," which finishes without an answer, is basically about our own experience of not getting a completely satisfactory answer to the important question of faith. It is aklso about having our reason overwhelmed at once by…… [Read More]
illiam Blake was one of Britain's greatest poets. His long history of mental illness also makes him one of England's most colourful and interesting literary figures. He lived his life in poverty, in the company of his devoted wife, and created a great deal of controversy due to his unconventional views on religion and rationalism.
He was born on November 28, 1757 in London.
Blake's parents were James, a hosier, and Catherine. As was common at the time, two of his six siblings died as infants.
Blake had a long and consistent history of mental illness. As a child, he reported having visions. At the age of four, Blake said that God had put his head to the window, and he saw a tree filled with angels. He spoke often with the angel Gabriel, and the Virgin Mary, and often saw visions of ghosts and monks. Blake's parents tried to…… [Read More]
WILLIAM BLAKE'S MILTON-TANSFOMATION
The great omantic poet, William Blake, is known for his revolutionary ideas and his fiery attacks on everything he opposed. His work is usually not very complex in nature but since it is connected with the infinite and discusses some imaginary elements, one needs to read his poems more than once to make sense of them. This is exactly what is required when reading Blake's Milton, a poem that respectfully yet firmly attacks Miltonic Christianity of submission and service. It is important to read this poem in the light of Milton's actual philosophies and theology for only then can we understand what Blake was trying to say in his "visionary" poem Milton.
John Milton staunch Puritan and a supporter of the England Parliament firmly believed in serving the God but his images of the Creator and Satan have often come under severe criticism because of the beliefs…… [Read More]
Technically, the work consists of several poetic devices:
Alliteration: Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright -- Frame Thy Fearful Symmetry.
Apostrophe: Use of apostrophe directing speaker's prose to the tiger.
Metaphor: The tiger has "eyes of fire"
Anaphora: epetition of "What" at the beginning of sentences or clauses (What dread hand, what the chain, etc.)
Allusion: The immortal hand or eye (God or Satan, Creation or Destruction; Distant deeps or skies; the underworld, heaven.
The overall theme of the poem seems to be that the universe is in a continual process of creation/destruction/creation. Each is a necessary part, and really there is no good or bad about what happens in the natural world, because the natural world is amoral -- it simply is a system in which things must happen in a circular manner. The mood is both somber and stately, with the rhyme scheme propelling the reader through the prose…… [Read More]
William Blake's "The Lamb"
In the poem "The Lamb," William Blake distinguishes his unique style through the incorporation of religious symbolism, creative lines, and simplistic patterns. "The Lamb" was published as part of a series of poems in 1789 titled the Songs of Innocence; actually, he wrote "The Lamb" and the other works as part of a series of lyrics. The entire work represents an enlightened state in Blake's life, and it was written before a contrary, darker state of mind in the 1793 sequel, the Songs of Experience. Blake was influenced by Emanuel Swedenborg, a writer who gave Christianity a mystical interpretation, and that influenced is found in Blake's work, like "The Lamb," poems that were more simplistic in style and nature before he became more contrition and prophetic in the Songs of Experience. Through simplistic structure, he chose the narrator of a child, as in this poem, told…… [Read More]
He saw that there could be no innocence if one could not acquire experience and knowledge later. This is also true of the kind of art Blake executed. Engravings are drawings made up of lines. It is not possible to remove the lines and have any art left, because that is what his style art does: it divides blank space. Without the blank space, there can be no lines. Without the lines, there is no art. There is only a blank sheet.
Blake emphasizes the differences between his poems of innocence and poems of experience. Just as Blake could have painted in watercolors, with many colors, many shades, all running together, he could have imbued his poems with "shades of gray." When artists paint with colors, they don't use line. The line is implied as the rooftop meets the sky. But in Blake's etchings, the only way we would see…… [Read More]
Blake instead chooses to call Him by the title which John the Baptist gave to him when he said, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29), setting off a long tradition of Jesus being identified as the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei). The title has reverberated throughout the centuries, appearing in the Mass: "Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis," as well as in song.
Blake, here, uses the title to gain traction with the child. The child's Maker, he says, is like him: He, too, was once a child, and even goes by the same name as that which the speaker has given the child: "He is called by thy name, / For he calls himself a Lamb. / He is meek, and he is mild; / He became a little child." Blake's poem is a poem of the Incarnation:…… [Read More]
Social Indictment and a Religious Vision of Salvation in illiam Blake's "The Chimney Sweeper"
ritten in 1789 and published in the collection, Songs of Innocence, illiam Blake's poem "The Chimney Sweeper," shows the cruel world of being a child in post-industrial London. The narrator of the poem is a chimney sweeper who was sold into the profession by his father, his mother having died when he was very young. Before he could even properly say the words, he was sent out onto the street to sell his services. hile this vision of childhood may be shocking to the modern reader, to the parents who made this difficult choice, it was better than seeing their children starve (Edmundson). He was so young that he "Could scarcely cry ' 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!," his young boy's lisp transforming the call for a "sweep!" into a lament. Throughout the poem, Blake…… [Read More]
1. First stanza: "Little Lamb, who made thee? / Dost thou know who made thee?"
IV. Body paragraph III: Contrast with Tyger
A. Ironically, the lion is "commonly known as the protector of the Lamb," (Damon & Eaves 242).
B. The lion is "often associated with the Tyger, for they are both forms of wrath: the lion is spiritual wrath, inspired by pity…while the Tyger's blind wrath is purely emotional," (all Damon & Eaves 242)
C. Although the motif of a lion laying down with the lamb does not actually occur in the Bible, the image has become part of common Christian consciousness and thus Blake does connect the Lion/Tyger with the Lamb in the Songs of Innocence and Experience.
A. Blake's poem "The Lamb" uses a tone of innocence to convey a central theme of innocence as a quality of Christ.
B. Christian symbolism pervades the poem,…… [Read More]
William lake, who lived from 1757 to1827, was a deeply religious man who originally trained as an artist, studying first painting and then engraving. He believed that he had received visions of angels in which he held conversations with the angels. He had other visions as well, both of monks and of other historical figures (The Literature Network). His sense of mystery about religion is evident in his poems, which reflect religious beliefs of the day that both good and bad were present in the world. His poem "The Lamb" represents the spiritual good in the world, while his poem "The Tyger" (or "The Tiger") reflects his belief that dark and dangerous entities also walk the Earth.
In these two poems, lake shows that he sees a clear distinction between good and evil. This is interesting given that he took up engraving as a trade, because engraving involves…… [Read More]
illiam Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker whose works continue to influence readers today. His collection of illuminated poems contained in one of his most well-known works, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, provide opposing views in this set of poems, Blake helps to expose what he thought was innocent and how experience changes these view. In "The Chimney Sweeper," a poem contained in both Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experiences, Blake presents the views of two boys, one who does not know the nature of man, and the other, who knows all too well.
"The Chimney Sweeper" in Songs of Innocence provides a light interpretation of a chimney sweep's life. The narrator is reassuring of the work they do, and does not focus on the negative aspects of the job. The narrator describes the chimney sweep's chant as "weep, weep, weep," an indication that the…… [Read More]
Afterwards, his place in the world was to constantly attempt to re-injure the God who had banished him. One of his greatest successes was the fall of mankind through Adam and Eve's first sin. The fall of mankind corrupted the natural world, including human nature, which then caused people to be born into sin. This is the cause of our pain, hatred, deaths, and suffering. The fall of Satan represents one of the most profound changes in human existence.
Yet, in Blake's painting, he is being restrained by the Arch Angel Michael; therefore giving humanity hope of once again reaching to God's grace. Michael binds him in chains as a way to keep him out of heaven and away from God. This is a tireless struggle, as seen in the action conveyed in Blake's painting. With this action, Michael is also protecting the human race from some of Satan's vices.…… [Read More]
Hughes developed, through his poetry, an artistic movement and a fresh new view of Black culture. During his lifetime, especially in his youth, Blacks in America were not regularly treated as equals, and Black literature and art went rather unappreciated. Hughes' poems shed new light on the human condition, and, just as Blake had done a century and a half before him, asked readers to question their own closely-held views of society and one's place in it. Hughes, like Blake, was also ridiculed for his views, namely during the McCarthy era when he was called in to defend his viewpoints on society and culture.
Even though Hughes died having been recognized for his contributions to jazz and poetry, much like Blake he went underappreciated until the true meaning and context of his work. Both men contributed to the evolution of ideas and art both within their own lifetimes and afterwards.…… [Read More]
The use of "coffins in black" as symbolism for death aptly justifies the use of the word "weep" to capture the abusive nature of the sweepers' work, not to mention the unfair conditions in work these young workers were forced to agree with. Lacking any choices or rights, the young, alienated sweepers became victims of moral degeneration, a condition only found in lake's modern society. Abuse of the youth's innocence and the promise of a prosperous life through honest (though abusive) labor became the principle of modern society, and the conditions that served as catalysts for moral degeneration to happen in it. Indeed, in order to alleviate the young, alienated sweepers from this moral abuse, lake only recommends death as the only way to emancipate or free themselves from it: "That thousands of sweepers...Were all...locked up in coffins of black. And by came an angel who had a bright…… [Read More]
The speaker also addresses himself. The conflict does not come from outside the speaker; it is all within him. This makes the conflict that much more difficult to bear and this motivates him to write the poem, if for nothing else than to ease his spirit.
The speaker resolves the conflict through admission. It is a painful admission because the speaker must admit to his own humanity while doing so. It was his own anger that planted the seed and allowed his foe to eat the fruit. The tree in the poet's imagination is like the tree in Eden in that they both are corrupt. The significance of the events occurring in the speaker's mind forces him to admit his humanity. He is corrupt and morally wrong for allowing these events to occur, even if they did occur only in his mind.
"A Poison Tree" tells the tale of the…… [Read More]
The fear and the misery cannot be escaped. The image here is of a town brimming with people and yet they are alienated and oppressed.
One of the most powerful literary techniques Blake employs in the poem is irony. In the beginning of the poem, after Blake introduces the notion of misery, he follows it with the notion of freedom. Those in the city are no doubt free but they are still miserable and crying out for help. Here we see that freedom is not only going to mean that things are working out well. Indeed, free societies experiences tragedy though that is a concept we rarely choose to associate with freedom. It is also important to note that this misery stems from "the mind-forged manacles" (8) of the people. This tells us that much of the suffering that these people are experiencing is self-inflicted. This idea forces the reader…… [Read More]
Blake's "The Tyger"
illiam Blake is a well-respected English painter, poet, and printmaker whose works went greatly unrecognized during his lifetime, but who has since been recognized as a major contributor to literature and art. Blake was born on November 28, 1757 in London and died on August 12, 1827. Through his work, Blake sought to express his political and religious views and often illuminated these works with illustrations that emphasized the meaning behind what he wrote. "Blake believed that his poetry could be read and understood by common people, but he was determined not to sacrifice his vision in order to become popular" ("illiam Blake"). Blake's collection of illuminated poems contained within Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience are intended to compliment each other and contain some of his better-known works such as "The Tyger." "The Tyger," found in Songs of Experience, explores the relationship between religion…… [Read More]
The poet does not use slang as a means to alter the general messages of the poem, as the grammatical style is formal for the period during which the poem was written. The vocabulary he uses is standard and although contemporary readers might consider the vernacular to be outdated, it is actually in accordance with the period when "The Lamb" was written. Blake wrote the poem in closed verse and the form changes somewhat from time to time. Considering that each stanza consists out of five couplets that end in a rhyme, the overall structure of the poem can be associated with a song. The vowel sounds and the flowing contribute to this concept and actually help readers as they imagine a song sang by a child or by a lamb. In spite of the fact that the verses or the general context of the poem might initially seem childish,…… [Read More]
In another context, the woman is blissfully unaware that her lover has been found out, and finally, the husband or "wronged" man must tell her he knows, and their love is over. The plot is actually quite simple, but Blake's eloquent use of words makes the actual telling much more complex and interesting.
The rose, unaware its' love is perverted; takes joy in the sensual pleasures of love, which Blake seems to be saying is unnatural and unhealthy. He writes, "thy bed of crimson joy: / and his dark secret love / Does thy life destroy" (Blake). The rose lives in a blissful bed of joy, unaware that sensual love is still a societal evil. Blake indicates that the rose should feel guilty for this "perversion" of love, and does not, which makes the rose even guiltier in his eyes. What began as a simple poem about a dying rose…… [Read More]
The child's presentation of his naive question that is asked without any expectation of an answer conveys an innocence over the entire poem.
In the second stanza, however, the imagery is not quite so clear, and the images become more analogy than picture, but the analogy represents innocence and purity. In the child's answer about who made the Lamb, the child describes the creator as both a child and a Lamb. Commonly, children are thought of as innocent and pure, as are lambs (the children of sheep, if you will) considered harmless and docile. In Christianity, Jesus often refers to a child-like state or a child-like mind as the most innocent and teachable mindset to have. Also in Christianity, lambs are considered innocent and blameless, at times in need of love and guidance. Indeed, the child in the poem explains it best when he says that the Lamb's creator "became…… [Read More]
As night looms, he hears "How the youthful Harlot's curse/Blasts the new-born Infant's tear, / And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse" (14-6). Even the populations' state of mind is represented with negative imagery. It is also important to note that the poet senses weariness when looks at the townspeople and that it stems from "mind-forged manacles" (8). This line makes it known that there is suffering but it comes from the people more than it does their surroundings. This perspective is illustrating the point of "The Chimney Sweeper" with opposite repercussions. The people how allowed their experiences to take their innocence and their love for life away from them. This means that society is suffering, but the suffering is made by society itself.
These poems demonstrate the versatility of illiam Blake's works and the scope of his talent. He utilized powerful images to convey moods and mindsets that tell…… [Read More]
The second aspect is that the subtlety of the sickness keeps it under the surface of an apparently healthy whole. The indication appears to be that the casual observer would not detect the illness. However, a person who moves closer to the rose will begin to see the signs of the illness that is in the process of consuming the life of the rose from within.
The words "bed" and "crimson joy" appear to refer to love that has been consummated by sex. This provides further possibilities for interpretation. It could be that the romance of young love was corrupted by sex -- "crimson" could refer to the loss of virginity. From a modern point-of-view, however, the disease could be the deception of one of the partners while the other is faithful. This deception then destroys the relationship from within. This interpretation can be substantiated by the phrase "dark secret…… [Read More]
WILLIAM BLAKE'S HOLY THURSDAY
Why and how does Blake create a distinction between innocence and experience in Holy Thursday?
What kind of political and social beliefs have a strong bearing on Blake's poems?
Blake belonged to a group of English radicals: how does his work reflect this radicalism?
William Blake's entire work revolves around social and political conditions of his times. He was one of those romantics who did not follow in the footsteps of people like Wordsworth but instead received inspiration from harsh realities of life. Instead of focusing only on the good and the positive as Wordsworth did, Blake was more interested in exposing the cruelties that were hidden behind what apparently looked good on the surface. Blake used his work not only to explore nature or soul as most other Romantic poets did, but tried to utilize his talent to comment on the political and social weaknesses…… [Read More]
hat are the "bans" the poet is speaking of in line 9 and what do they have to do with suffering?
hat can be done about man's suffering?
hy does Blake call it a marriage hearse instead of a marriage coach?
illiam Blake's poem, "London" is a reflection of Human Suffering
illiam Blake's poem, "London" illustrates a certain misery among its inhabitants. The poet tells us as he wandered through the streets, he sees "marks of weakness, marks of woe" (4) in every face he meets. In addition he hears "every cry of man" (5) and in every infant's cry and in every voice he hears:
How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
Every blackening Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls. (9-12)
This is a bleak and miserable portrait of the city. It is interesting to note that he not only sees…… [Read More]
The effect enhances the tone and rhythm of the poem, which is quite differently experienced when reading from print.
Reading the poem visually also assists with content and meaning. Listening to Stallworthy is much more of a purely musical experience, a lot like listening to a song but ignoring the lyrics. The lyrics and the vocal character of the singer are two separate things. Likewise, Blake's words and how the words sound are also two very different things. Both aspects of the poetry are meaningful and integral to a thorough understanding of the poem. Reading the poem in print offers much more of an opportunity to linger and spend time with individual words, phrases, and patterns of words. The audio encounter flies by, and unless the listener stops the recording it is impossible to focus on one particular aspect of the poem. Reading the poem visually allows the reader to…… [Read More]
Tyger, by William Blake. Specifically, I will begin by addressing the outer, or obvious, meaning of the poem. Following this discussion, I will give a thorough, and detailed analysis of the inner meaning of the poem, The Tyger, by William Blake.
At a very superficial reading, the outer, obvious, subject of the poem is, of course, a tiger.
The author wonders at the beauty and raw power of the tyger. This is seen in the following lines "burnt the fire of thine eyes," "Tyger burning bright, In the forests of the night." Blake asks who created the tiger, and wonders at who could possible create such a beast. "What immortal hand or eye, dare frame thy fearful symmetry." Further, Blake asks if God, the creator was happy to see his handiwork, the tyger.
However, like virtually all important poems, The Tyger certainly has a deeper meaning than is suggested by…… [Read More]
Shakespeare and Blake
A prevalent issue in English literature is how social status affects individuals. Two writers that are able to explore the negative aspects of social status are William Shakespeare and William Blake. In Shakespeare's Othello, the Moor of Venice, social status plays a major role in determining who does or does not get promoted within the military; this determination, in turn, leads to rebellion on the part of Iago who is both angry and jealous after being passed up for promotion. On the other hand, Blake's poems of the same title, "The Chimney Sweeper" from Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, highlight what children of lower social classes must endure for the benefit of their families. Through their respective works of literature, Shakespeare and Blake demonstrate the lasting impact that social striation has on individuals.
Othello, the Moor of Venice is a dramatic play that focuses on…… [Read More]
Romantic notions in Blake's "The Chimney Sweeper"
Romanticism was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that occurred during the second half of the 18th century. During this time, a shift from previously established Enlightenment ideals to more natural, emotional, and personal themes was seen. Opposing forces within Romantic literature were Nature and the Self; Nature was seen as the source of goodness and it was through society and civilization that innocence of what was natural, and the natural order of things, was lost. One of the Romantic poets that best exemplified this concept was illiam Blake.
illiam Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience can be used to demonstrate how society and civilization have corrupted the inherent innocence of children. In Reading Between the Lines: A Christian Guide to Literature, Veith (1990) writes that "civilization was seen as corrupting the natural innocence of human beings; more primitive…… [Read More]
The years in which the Romantic Era had its great impact -- roughly 1789 through 1832 -- were years in which there were "intense political, social, and cultural upheavals," according to Professor Shannon Heath at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (Heath, 2009). The beginning of the Romantic Era actually is traced to the French Revolution, and though that tumultuous event was not in England, illiam ordsworth and others sympathized with the French Revolution -- at least at the beginning of the Revolution.
The demands for democracy in the Era were manifested through poems that reflected solidarity with principles of "equality and individuality," Heath explains. The principles of fairness and equality were needed in England as well as in France, and Heath suggests that poets were not just responding to revolutions but rather were critiquing English government. According to Giovanni Pellegrino the struggles for democracy and the "political…… [Read More]
Romantic ideal in the poetry of William Blake, William Wordsworth and Walt Whitman shares the attitude that the most worthy part of human existence lies in simplicity and deep emotion rather than rational thought. Romanticism is based upon a movement away from the rationality of Enlightenment and the wealth-driven society inspired by Industrialism. This ideal is reflected in the work of the poets mentioned above. To demonstrate this, "The Chimney weeper," "Ode: Imitations of Immortality" and "I ing the Body Electric" from each respective poet are considered.
Blake's poetry emphasizes the evils of existing power systems within society, and how these are used to oppress the poor and powerless. This is shown in his poem "The Chimney weeper." The little chimney sweeper is representative of the poor and oppressed suffering under the current systems of power. The parents and the church are images reflecting the oppressive forces. The…… [Read More]
Poetry and Art of William Bake
Infant Sorrow Guide and Exposition of Illustration Used
Infant Sorrow was one of the poems written by William Blake. It talks of a child being born into a world they aren't familiar with. The poem captures the experience with simplicity, hope and anxiety. Blake pens how the child leaps into the world helpless and naked yet the welcoming world is one which is characterized with precarious situations and activities. Since the newborn is still naive, they don't know how to properly respond to this world. Feelings of helplessness befall upon the baby and the only consolation the baby gets is the opportunity to sulk on the mother's breast.
Blake employs various poetic devices to convey the meaning of the poem. With only two stanzas and eight lines, the poem uses very simple language. One of the devices employed is imagery. For example, Blake uses…… [Read More]
Here we see the image of tenderness gain. This is reinforced when the speaker says, "He is meek and he is mild" (13-5). hen he states, "He became a little child: / I a child and thou a lamb, / e are called by his name" (16-8), the speaker is incorporating to ideas. One suggestion is of the tenderness of Jesus and the lamb and the other is the notion that the meek shall inherit the earth. This relationship between the lamb, Jesus, and the meek elaborates on a larger notion that we are all connected. The speaker is also suggesting that all living things are holy. There is no doubt here as the speaker uses a voice that is calm, gentle, and confident. As a result of this confidence, the image of all living things is bound through love.
"The Lamb" is a poem that explores innocence and the…… [Read More]
William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, & Percy Shelley
For William Blake, religion is but a medium used by self-interested groups and individuals who want to gain power and influence over society. His criticism of religion, particularly inappropriate use of religion by people, is expressed in the poem "Jerusalem." In this poem, Blake expresses his skepticism about religion's purpose for the society, particularly his countrymen: "And did those feet in ancient time / Walk upon England's mountain green?... And was Jerusalem builded here / Among these dark Satanic mills?" Disillusioned by the constant conflicts and disorder in society caused and premeditated by religious leaders, Blake questions whether religion has become constructive, or destructive, in English society.
William Wordsworth offers in his poems veneration for Nature, as expressed in his Romanticist style of writing poetry. An example of Wordsworth's poem that evokes and expresses his affinity with nature is evident…… [Read More]
Voltaire's "Candide" (lake and Kazin, 1976) contain aspects of anti-religious sentiments. oth epics are quasi-historical -- they provide a commentary on the prevailing times; both works also provide a view into lake and Voltaire's personal opinions and leanings. Voltaire was educated by the Jesuits -- priests belonging to the society of Jesuits. Voltaire railed against the prevailing cultural and religious mores that sought to forget socio-economic conditions to satisfy some pre-ordained, religious (mis)interpretations of divine mandates. lake, similarly, was mortified by the dualism practiced by the religious of the time. He did not like or appreciate the way in which every thing was seen from the point of black or white. If the Church deemed something unfit, the practitioner of that aspect of life came under severe remonstrations and even met the ultimate penalty of death. oth authors struggle against the fact that these rules were beneficial to those in…… [Read More]
After this troubling question, the poet throws up his hands, no wiser than before. At the end of this poem of pulsating, drum-beat of questions in a sing-song of nursery rhymes, the poem returns to the beginning. The poetic drum retains the short metrical feet: "Tyger! Tyger! burning bright / in the forests of the night, / hat immortal hand or eye/Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?" And the repetition suggests the poet is no wiser about the goodness of God's creation, and the origin of the tiger, lamb, and the world. The existence of evil in the world in the form of the tiger remains in his eyes, as does the possibility that the same creator of that evil also brought forth the lamb and all of existence.
Blake, illiam. "The Tyger." 1794. Text available 6 Nov 2007…… [Read More]
Racine's Phaedra -- Compared to Blake's "Lamb" and Melville's Billy Budd
As Bernard Grebanier states, Racine's Phaedra speaks "with the violence of life itself" (xiv). If one were to compare the French playwright's most famous female lead to the English-speaking world's most famous male lead (as Grebanier does), it would have to be to Hamlet, whose passionate assessment of life is likewise problematic. Indeed, Phaedra raises many themes, including the importance of origin, innocence, and sin -- themes that may be found in as seemingly disparate works as illiam Blake's "The Lamb" and Herman Melville's Billy Budd. hile Racine's Phaedra is the tale of a woman, torn by a passion that possesses her so cruelly that it destroys not only her life but the lives of others around her -- including the innocent man who is her obsession, Hyppolytus; Blake's poem deals with the triple theme of origin, innocence, and…… [Read More]
Knowledge and the ability to learn, to think, and to analyze are terrible gifts, this interpretation says, not because they are not useful or powerful but because their power is both so capable of destruction and so limited in comparison with the giver/creator of this knowledge and ability.
The clear religious elements of "The Tyger" also have bearing on this message of true knowledge and its fearsome un-attainability. The querying voice of the speaker and the progression of the poem creates something of a narrative quest for knowledge, and "natural imagery" in Blake's work "invariably serves a prophetic purpose," according to one scholar (Altizer, p. 31). In this instance, however, what the tiger (an unusual yet strong natural image) prophesizes is only the terror and the futility of advancing further in the quest to understand the tiger's maker, i.e. God. The continued bafflement of the speaker and the awe (in…… [Read More]
hile the tiger may be a dangerous creature, it is still one of beauty, much like our own society. e encounter dangerous situations and beautiful scenes on a daily basis. In short, there is danger but there is also beauty. It is also interesting to observe how the end of "the Tiger" is much like the beginning. The poet writes:
Tyger, Tyger burning bright
In the forests of the night
hat immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry.
ith this last stanza the poet brings the poem full circle. It is interesting to note how the tiger is not just burning but that he is burning bright. Furthermore, he lives in a dark world of danger. This dark world allows us to see the burning animal's "fearful symmetry" (Tyger 4). This line also brings a balance between the tiger's fierceness and its beauty. e should also note how…… [Read More]
Opposite Attraction: hat the orld Needs Now illiam Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"
Irony serves as the proper technique for illiam Blake in his notorious story, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell." offers a unique solution to the complex problem of reconciling good and evil. This story is unique in that Blake attempts to reconcile good and evil in a way that is comical while still proving its point. Blake begins his tale by reversing elements and values with which we are all familiar. He adds his own spin to the characteristics of good and evil, which will become significant to the meaning of his story.
It is with the devil's voice that Blake utilizes to express his opinion. Michael Schmidt asserts that Blake's "imaginative process is vividly demonstrated" in "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" and evidence of this can be seen in The Argument.
Once meek,…… [Read More]
Poets of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth century concerned themselves with childhood and its various experiences, but the particular historical and aesthetic contexts within which different poets wrote affected their perspective on the matter greatly. As literature moved from Romanticism to naturalism, the tone poets took when considering children and their place in society changed, because where children previously existed as a kind of emotional or romantic accessory, they soon became subjects in their own right, with their own experiences and perspectives. By examining illiam ordsworth's "Michael," illiam Blake's "The Chimney Sweeper," and .B. Yeats' "A Prayer for my Daughter," one is able to see how the gradual transition from Romanticism to naturalism brought with it a less exploitative consideration of children, one that better reflected their place in the rapidly changing world.
The first poem to examine is illiam ordsworth's "Michael," because it fall squarely in the…… [Read More]
Death in "Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night"
"Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" is one of Dylan Thomas's most recognizable poems. ritten for Thomas's dying father, this poem is 19 lines and is structured like a villanelle where only two sounds are rhymed. Through the use of imagery, Thomas is able to vividly explore the theme of death and resistance to it.
"Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" is full of rebellious undertones with the opening line setting the tone for the rest of the poem. In the poem, Thomas urges his father, and others, to fight against death saying that "old age should burn and rave at close of day" and that a person should not give in so easily to Death's demands (line 2). Thomas continues to describe "wise men" who "at their end know dark is right" do not give…… [Read More]
hen it is read aloud, however, the reader understands that the simple rhyme scheme adds a great deal to the poem. Because it is written in such a simple, singsong rhyme scheme, which seems in appropriate, the reader can quickly comprehend that this disconnect is, most likely, intentional. Presenting a poem about the sadness of people in London in a childlike, singsong fashion evokes an irony that can only be understood when the piece is read audibly. Through this, the author seems to imply that London is not innocent, that she has been scarred, and even the most innocent of children's songs must now reflect that fact. hen John Stallworthy recites, however, the poem is not read with an overemphasis unstressed/stressed meter, instead further emphasizing the connection among the different images. hile the meter is still there, and can be detected, Stallworthy reads the poem more like a string of…… [Read More]
This reflection on Milton and Blake is also the reflections of every person who is looking for purpose in their lives (ibid, 588).
However, in the last generation more and more people are asking the same question as Bloom and raising the issue of purpose. Like the humans that recorded the creation story in Genesis, we are searching for the purpose of our being and existence. Blake's parables answer use poetic license to extend this question of existence into the time of the twilight of the Enlightenment when new knowledge was causing people to ask many of the same questions that they asked when they set down the creation story of Genesis thousands of years before that (ibid).
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hile Israel may be the apple of God's eye, it appears that Jerusalem is that of Blake's since the work comes from this source as well. Inspiring the famous…… [Read More]
Though the reader understands that this is impossible as the beauty of youth cannot last forever, Shakespeare makes a point to remedy this. The speaker in the poem notes that his love's timelessness will be ensured through his actions of writing about her. No matter what happens to either of them through the course of their own lives, the beauty of the woman being written about and love that existed at the moment of the poem's writing will be carried unaltered through the ages to come -- which has proven true for centuries.
Ezra Tompkins' poem, "What is it that Compels," focuses on the themes of love, death, and the fleetingness of human existence. The poem centers upon the speaker after the death of his father and his observance of the way his mother is handling the death of her husband. Tompkins' poem deals with the hardships that come when…… [Read More]
It might be argued that the Industrial Revolution throughout Europe was not a revolution in the traditional sense, insofar as it involved no violence. Anyone making this argument, however, is unaware of the existence of the Luddites. Active in England in the early nineteenth century, at the height of the industrial revolution, Luddites were English textile workers who revolted against their replacement with industrial machinery and responded by destroying that machinery. The ritish government responded by sending in the army. The labor historian Eric Hobsbawm notes that "the 12,000 troops deployed against the Luddites greatly exceeded in size the army which Wellington took" to defeat Napoleon, which may give some sense of where governmental priorities actually lay.[footnoteRef:0] The real point is that the Industrial Revolution was tremendously disruptive to the lives of ordinary workers and people, and what is remarkable in retrospect is only that there was not…… [Read More]
e. To make music). It was so beautiful that the child wept and wanted him to sing it, which he did. Again the child wept and determined that it was so beautiful that all should be allowed to experience it, which was why the child wanted it written down. The beauty that was written down is, presumably, the rest of the poetry that is contained in the book. Whether it actually holds that much beauty is something that could be argued and is not for debate here. The important issue here is that the way that the Introduction is written not only gives insight into the poems that are seen in the book but also expresses the heartfelt joy that lake experienced in writing them and that he hopes the reader will experience as well. This is what he is trying to show and say through the use of the…… [Read More]
The definition that Merteuil gives of love is very telling: "Don't you recall that love is, like medicine, only the art to help nature?" (Letter 10) the feelings that come naturally must be repressed or transformed by the art of love.
It is the advice that Merteuil herself follows in her affairs. hen she describes the moments she shares with her lovers, her feelings are always half premeditation, half sentiment:
There, half out of premeditation, half from sentiment, I threw my arms around him and fell at his knees. 'To prepare you the surprise of this moment,' I said, 'I reproach myself for having troubled you with an appearance of ill-humour, with having veiled for an instant my heart from your gaze. Forgive these faults, I will expiate them by my love.' You may imagine the effect of that sentimental discourse. The happy Chevalier raised me and my pardon was…… [Read More]
In our humanity, we tend to feed such emotions, just as the speaker of the poems suns his tree with "smiles" (7). The wrath does not end but feeds on negativity.
"A Poison Tree" is a mental exercise. The scene of this poem is more significant than anything else because it never leaves the speaker's mind. This poem is about murder. However, it is not the kind of murder we might see on CSI. Instead, this murder takes place within the heart of the speaker. In his soul, where he is completely honest, he allows his enemy to consume the deadly fruit, much like Satan did in the Garden of Eden. Here we see the danger of anger. The tone of this poem is somber, which seems odd when coupled with the sing-song rhyme scheme. It wants to read like a nursery rhyme but its content is far too macabre.…… [Read More]
Death of the Ball Turret Gunner by Randall Jarrell Without knowing that a ball turret is small place in a B-17, we would not understand the central metaphor analogizing the mother's womb to the ball turret, which is essential to understanding that the poem is about the contrast between the warmth of a mother's love and the cold dehumanizing treatment of the "State" where he is just another soldier.
Common Ground by Judith Cofer Before reading the poem, the title seemed quite self-explanatory, I figured the poem would be about finding common ground between people, and in a sense it is, but the message, after reading the poem, is much starker. It is more about the inescapability of aging, the common links that tie generations as the young get old and realize the commonalities they share with their parents.
Hazel Tells LaVerne by Katharyn Machan Knowing the fairy tale helps…… [Read More]
332-333, 336-337). The fallen angels' response to Satan's call is the final confirmation of his character, because it demonstrates how he is able to maintain the respect and interest of his followers even though it appears as if they have been stripped of everything. In this sense, Satan is a kind of idealized revolutionary leader, outmatched by the "Almighty" but unwilling to give up, all the while maintaining the respect and loyalty of his followers.
In Paradise Lost, it seems almost inevitable that Milton, whether intentionally or not, was on the Devil's side, even if the narrator of the poem was explicitly not. This is evidenced by the discrepancies between the narrator's account of Satan's character and what is revealed in Book I, when Satan first interacts with the other fallen angels. here the narrator suggests that Satan's actions were born out of vanity and greed, Satan argues otherwise, claiming…… [Read More]
Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem, "To a Beautiful Spring in a Village" represents the Romantic Movement in that the poet expresses appreciation for the "sweet stream." Coleridge is also expounding on his experience of the stream, which is an example of how the Romantic riters wrote. The poem celebrates the stream with its "friendly banks" and "pebbled falls," focusing on every detail and finding joy in all of them. (Perkins 397)
illiam ordsworth's poem, "Lines ritten in Early Spring" is an excellent example of Romantic verse as it, too, places a great deal of respect and awe upon nature. In this poem, ordsworth laments what "man has made of man" while rejoicing in the beauty of nature. The poet is emphasizing the workings of nature when he thinks that "every flower enjoys the air it breathes" and the birds around him "hopped and played" with their every movement seeming to be…… [Read More]
Although the speaker means his words to be comforting to Tom, the reader is likely to find it grotesque.
The speaker tells the reader that Tom had a dream, where the young sweepers were set free of their "coffins of black" by an angel and were allowed to play as young children should in heaven (14). This shows how the priorities of society have gone awry -- instead of hoping to live to a ripe old age, children fantasize about dying young so they can act like children in paradise. The idea that God loves little children is betrayed by a society that uses religious rhetoric to encourage children to become content with their miserable lives and do their adult duties. The ending lines of the poem are perhaps the most ironic of all: "Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm; / So if all do their…… [Read More]
Most individuals fail to appreciate life to the fullest because they concentrate on being remembered as some of the greatest humans who ever lives. This makes it difficult for them to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, considering that they waste most of their time trying to put across ideas that are appealing to the masses. While many did not manage to produce ideas that survived more than them, others succeeded and actually produced thinking that remained in society for a long period of time consequent to their death.
Creativity is generally regarded as one of the most important concepts in society, considering that it generally induces intense feelings in individuals. It is responsible for progress and for the fact that humanity managed to produce a series of ideas that dominated society's thinking through time. In order for someone to create a concept that will live longer than him or…… [Read More]
In the poem and essay "Compensation," Ralph aldo Emerson makes a much more cogent and coherent assessment of how perspective seems to determine good and evil. His examples, however, are purely situational and do not adequately support his central thesis. For example, he compares a farmer jealous of power to the President examining what he has had to sacrifice to earn the hite House (par. 11). hile it is true that what one might see as a "good" here might be seen as an "evil" by the other, this has nothing to do with real morality. It is not what the President sacrificed of himself that determines the evil of this situation, but whether he sacrificed others for his own personal gain.
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one of the most well-known pieces of literature in the estern world. Robert Louis Stevenson shows the novels protagonist,…… [Read More]