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"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.

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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.

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