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What is Blake saying about The Two Contrary States of Human Nature? What imagery does he use for this purpose and how effective is it?

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Introduction

What is Blake saying about The Two Contrary States of Human Nature? What imagery does he use for this purpose and how effective is it? The following essay will analyse, compare and contrast two poems by William Blake, 'The Divine Image' and 'The Human Abstract.' References will be made to other poems by William Blake, coming too a conclusion about The Two Contrary States of Human Nature. 'The Divine Image' is a poem about innocence, following a traditional ballad structure, telling a story concerned with the personification of the abstract qualities of Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love. The four quatrains and the alternating three/four beats have the effect of a melodic nursery rhyme. The four entities are instantly personified and listed by Blake as the Four Virtues of Delight. 'To Mercy Pity Peace and Love, All pray in their distress: And to these virtues of delight, Return their thankfulness.' Within the first stanza Blake makes these abstractions the object of human prayer and piety. Traditionally many people pry to them in times of distress, when your prayers are answered you should return your gratitude to them: 'Return their thankfulness.' In the second stanza Blake associates, Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love with God. ...read more.

Middle

Blake's poetry reflects many of the changes he saw taking place, therefore the fear in 'The Human Abstract' may stem form the men and women in the 18th century becoming more opposed by the powerful changes, as it was a time of intense political paranoia. As with 'The Poison Tree', a poem that depicts with appalling honesty the hatred of which one man is capable, 'The Human Abstract' picks up on the hatred and fear we can confine with ourselves, along with the extended metaphor of a tree growing from this hatred. 'The Human Abstract' uses a direct quote from 'A Poison Tree'. 'And waters the ground with tears.' The fruit mentioned in 'The Human Abstract' is the same fruit featured in 'The Poison Tree.' 'And it bears the fruit of deceit.' - a poisoned apple representing all the anger and hatred that has built up over time. In the case of 'The Human Abstract,' the tree grows from the trepidation, hatred and suffering that the people of London are experiencing. 'Then Cruelty knits a snare.' - here, cruelty is personified as a knowing or cunning person. The tree in 'The Human Abstract' flourishes on the fear and hypocrisy of the church, offering no help, creating despondency amongst the people, a poisonous foliage growing from the tree, going against the natural and spiritual state of man. ...read more.

Conclusion

the state of innocence to experience - the nurse in the poem representing everything else, personified through the birds and the lambs. 'The Nurses Song' can be seen in direct contrast to the poem 'London' and 'The Chimney Sweeper', as instead of having to work the children have the opportunity to play. The poem 'The Chimney Sweeper' unlike 'The Nurses Song', is written through the eyes of a child, focusing on the thoughts of a young boy coming to terms with the loss of his parents and child labour. Again Blake uses repetition, this time in the first stanza. In this case the repetition shows the continual pressure and demands that children as young as three had to face up to in the 18th century. In conclusion, the poems that Blake produced show that the state of mind in innocence and experience are so far apart that in 'The Divine Image', the ideas are so pure they could depict God. Blake's divine image is a reversed one; the poem constructs God in the image of man, whereas in the bible, God creates man in his image. The ideas in 'The Human Abstract,' however, go against the natural state of man or innocence, they perceive the deceit of which one is capable. ...read more.

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