• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Blake is primarily a religious poet." Explore some of the ways in which Blake treats the Church and religion in the Songs of Innocence and Experience.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"Blake is primarily a religious poet." Explore some of the ways in which Blake treats the Church and religion in the Songs of Innocence and Experience. Paul Appleton Throughout "Innocence" and "Experience," many poems incorporate religious views and imagery. Blake presents many contradicting views on the Church and religion, the contrast being particularly clear between "Innocence" and "Experience." Within the "Songs of Innocence" a child-like portrayal of Church and religion is portrayed. Throughout "Innocence" there are many references to "The Lamb" representing Jesus Christ who was the Sacrificial Lamb, as shown in the poem "The Lamb." Another common image of religion used by Blake is that of religion as the Shepherd, the Shepherd is "watchful" and ever watching over his sheep, protecting them, Blake is showing religion as being ever-present and constantly present. This is a very child-like and partial view of Christ. Religion is portrayed in a child like manner, as is Christ in the poem "On Another's Sorrow," Christ is portrayed as "[giving] his joy to all" as he is embodied both within an "infant small" and "men of woe." ...read more.

Middle

Throughout "Innocence" a simple, child-like portrayal of religion is explored. This could show Blake as primarily a religious poet as there are common, simple themes running throughout many of his poems in "Innocence." This simple view of both Christ and religion contrasts the complex metaphors used to represent religion in "Innocence." Within many poems in "Experience" images of religion are juxtaposed to those of "dew" which represents materialism. This is used to show the corruptness of the images of the Church and religion as being simple and ever-present. Throughout the "songs of Innocence" there are not many ongoing themes, there is only one on-going theme, that of the Church being ever-present. In "Experience" many other themes are present, such as materialism, giving a more complex image. In "Introduction" the "ancient trees" are used to represent the forests of materialism. "The Holy Word" is portrayed as walking through this field of materialism, showing that when not in a form of exaggerated innocence, religious values and ways of life can become lost and confused within everyday life. ...read more.

Conclusion

"A chapel was built on the midst/ Where I used to play on the green" the Church of which "the gates were shut" has now prohibited a once communal area. The Church is portrayed as prohibiting people's lives, and providing regulations, as "Thou Shalt not was writ over the door." Priests are shown as "walking around in black gowns" and "binding briars with [his] joys and desires" thorns, representing the Church and religion, were restricting his life, and joy was prohibited. Within "The Human Abstract" religion is referred to as the "dismal shade of mystery," and the priests are the "ravens" which have made "[their] nests in the thickest shade." A negative image of the Church is explored, as the Church is shading people from the light. The theme of religion is one central to both "The Songs of Innocence" and the "Songs of Experience" as a result of this, Blake could be seen as "primarily a religious poet." Although the theme is ongoing, within "Experience" many other themes are also explored, showing that Blake, although concentrating primarily on religion, did explore other themes relevant to everyday and the current state of living. 935 words. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE William Blake section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE William Blake essays

  1. 'On Another's Sorrow.'

    Phrases like 'pouring pity,' are quite powerful because it presses the idea of the level of grief you could feel; that it could so great that it's as if it is pouring into you.

  2. How does William Blake portray children and childhood in his poetry? Discuss with references ...

    Again as this is predictable and stays the same all the way through the poem, it gives the effect of a nursery rhyme and the reader is certain of the poem. I think Blake has structured the poem in this way, so that we empathise with how Blake portrays children.

  1. Compare and Contrast 'The Chimney Sweeper from Songs of Innocence and Experience.' You Should ...

    'And are gone to praise God and his priest and king, who make up a heaven of our misery' this last catching sentence is implying that they have gone to church, free of these children they gave birth to, and are rejoicing in their names, the king who is supposed

  2. How does Blake use 'Songs of Innocence' and 'Songs of Experience' to express his ...

    In 'Laughing Song' the repetition of the word 'laugh' creates pleasant imagery of a perfect, happy place to live. This idea that life was different depending on where you were brought up is also present in both of the 'Nurse's Song' poems.

  1. With reference to 'God's Grandeur' and two other poems including at least one from ...

    which gives the reader time to imagine the beauty of the sight of London at dawn. The poem emphasises the celebration on human accomplishment. The tremendous and visually striking buildings in London prove this. In the poem, buildings are listed to put extra emphasis on the fact that as humans,

  2. Explore Blake's Chimney Sweeper poems from the Songs of Innocence and the Songs of ...

    The sweeps where forced to clean the chimneys if they refused or could not fit up the chimneys they where punished by the fire being lit, slaps, prodding with poles and various other instruments and pricking of the bottoms of their feet.

  1. William Blake - Blake is angry and critical about the attitude and values of ...

    In the experience version of 'The Chimney Sweeper' it isn't as personal as in the innocence version because, where as in that version the boy had a name, in this version the boy is just described metaphorically as 'a little black thing among the snow."

  2. What is blake saying about the two contrary states of the human soul in ...

    If he is good and does his duty, he need not be afraid because he will go to heaven and live happily, 'And the Angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy He'd have god for his father & never want joy.'

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work