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Blake is the Enemy of all Authority(TM)- to what extent is this a fair analysis of Blake(TM)s attitutude in The Selected Poems(TM)?

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Introduction

'Blake is the Enemy of all Authority'- to what extent is this a fiar analysis of Blake's attitutude in 'The Selected Poems'? Hanoom 13 sh Blake's poetry often serves to propagate his anti-authoritarian views and loathing of institutional power. Furthermore, his views often impress upon the reader his belief in the human right for both spiritual and social freedom, unconstrained by established convention. Blake's treatment of the institution of the church and religion is often contemptuous and shows his attitude to what he sees as the hypocrisy of an uncompromising establishment which in his eyes causes misery, rather than nurturing the human sole. In 'The Garden of Love' Blake conveys his anti-clerical message in the stanza "the gates of this chapel were shut" and reflects his view of the church as exclusionary. Moreover, the "shut" gates imply that the path to heaven and God does not start at the foot of the alter, but in individual belief and spirituality. The idea is further reinforced in the poem by the image of priests "binding with briars my joys and desires" and thereby placing the priests in the position of Christ's oppressors, making them seem malevolent in robbing people of their natural joyful impulse. ...read more.

Middle

In the poem "The school Boy" Blake condemns school- an institution which tries to teach reason as restricting the childs' vivacity in his natural environment. "How can the bird that is born for joy sit in a cage and sing?" is a metaphor for human imprisonment to show that the environment of the classroom cannot cultivate the unrestrained and joyful energy which Blake reveres. This is in contrast to "the sky-lark [which] sings" with the boy when he "rise[s] in a summer morn When the birds sing on every tree". This illustrates the bucolic setting, filled with aural imagery and how joy prevails in the boundless confines of nature. The repression of man-created institutions such as school can be contrasted to the freedom provided by nature, where arguably God is the only authority. The nurses song centres on the liberating environment of nature where "the voices of children are heard on the green and laughing is heard on the hill". This evokes the abundance of delight created by God's creation of the natural world and how in Blake's time the idyllic countryside of England was yet largely unspoiled by large, polluting manufacturers seeking profit maximisation. ...read more.

Conclusion

In another radical step away from the customs of his time the introduction to Songs of Innocence gives authority to the child, to which the piper assents. " 'Pipe a song about a lamb.'/ So I piped with merry cheer" paints the child was the origin of creativity and beautiful, with the piper as his instrument. The reference to the lamb suggests that the child has a moral and spiritual purpose and that his youthful innocence makes him more adept than the piper to whom he shoes how to convey the message through song. However the transience of the child's authority is conveyed in the words "so he vanished from my sight" which re-establishes the reality of Blake's time when children were powerless to resist the demands of their elders and could not dictate their own wishes or destinies. Blake's focus on authority is intended to make a social and political statement about the customs of his day. Arguably, he does not oppose all authority but merely the kind arising from self-interest and requiring the sacrifice of fellow human beings. His poetry advocates individuality and unrestrained vivacity for life rare for his time and fundamentally preaches unbridled equality. ...read more.

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