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

William Blake - nature liberates man imprisons

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'In Blake's view of the world, nature liberates: man imprisons'. How far does your reading of the Selected Poems lead you to agree? Blake explores the idea of mankind v nature a great deal in his poems, and to a certain extent, the general consensus seems to be that nature liberates and man imprisons. The poem London in particular shows this opinion. It expresses bitter indignation against the state of society, of mankind. The trochaic rhythm has a mechanical aspect, emphasising the feeling of despair 'In every cry of every man', and Blake's repetition, thudding and oppressive, reflects the suffocating atmosphere of the manmade city. The hypocrisy of man is attacked in this poem. The 'hapless Soldier's sigh Runs in blood down Palace walls' implies that the King uses the lives of his soldiers to maintain his luxury lifestyle - this was stated at the time of the Napoleonic wars. The Church is presented as 'black'ning', the colour of death and symbolic of the Chimney Sweeper's lightless lives. The Church is criticised in much of Blake's poetry, especially for its ability to imprison society. In The Garden of Love, Blake shows his outrage at the oppressive nature of the rules of religion 'Thou shalt not...binding with briars my joys and desires' highlighting how organised religion does not bring the grace one would expect, only restrictions. ...read more.

Middle

Here, the rhyming couplets and regular structure are used to present a feeling of imprisonment. The baby is an unwanted child, produced in Joylessness and this is the birth of a representative citizen of Blake's London. It is already in the process of forging its own mental manacles. The child is born out of the mother's pain, and this pain is accentuated by the misery that the father's tears suggest. Tears possibly for the extra burden that the child constitutes. Feeling itself in a dangerous world, feeling unwanted and being joyless, it strives against its parents and against the bonds that are immediately applied to it. Unwanted children are not uncommon in Blake's poetry. In the poem The Chimney Sweeper of Innocence, the child's father 'sold me while yet my 'tongue could scarcely cry 'weep!' 'weep!' 'weep!''. This phrase highlights how young the child was, and reflects the 'marks of woe' explored in 'London'. The child has been brought into a world, described in Holy Thursday as 'a rich and fruitful land, Babes reduc'd to misery'. This use of opposite highlights the unfairness of the sweeps situation. Holy Thursday can be used to show Blake's opinion that nature liberates, because the children are in a land of poverty 'where their sun does never shine' - showing the importance of nature in liberation. ...read more.

Conclusion

The final two lines are linked by the logical conjunction 'for', which proposes a conditional relationship between the flock's peace and the Shepherd being present. In this poem, nature does not represent liberation as the sheep are restricted by the Shepherd - not unlike the Church restricting the people. Also, the Tyger does not show nature as being liberating. The trochaic rhythm brings a powerful drumbeat, and although a totally different poem has a feeling of imprisonment like London. Repetition of 'symmetry' has a similar effect and shows that the tyger's beauty is so wonderful it is terrifying. Much of the making of the tyger is likened to heavy industrial work, 'fire', 'hammer', 'chain' and 'furnace' which associates the tyger with the Industrial Revolution and the enslavement of the population. This directly contrasts the idea that nature symbolises liberation. To a great extent I believe Blake's poetry is of the opinion that nature liberates and man imprisons. There is no evidence in his poetry that he believes mankind liberates, it is only nature and supreme beings such as the Angel in the Chimney Sweeper of Innocence that have such power. However, nature does not always liberate, highlighting that it is not just man that has the power to imprison. ...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. How does William Blake portray children and childhood in his poetry? Discuss with references ...

    The structure is set into four stanzas and they each are short but effective, and again this is because it represents how strongly Blake felt against the poor children starving. He thought it was wrong and has been able to communicate it to the reader through short and effective stanzas and effective language.

  2. The Analysis of William Blake's 'The Tyger and the lamb'.

    These next four lines of the second stanza are on a philosophical level directly linked to the religious theme and to Jesus. Blake has however merged the literal and philosophical levels together for the first line in the poem, openly stating the strong religious theme throughout the poem here in the middle of the second stanza.

  1. Compare and Contrast 'The Lamb' and 'The Tyger' by William Blake

    The reader may link this to the fact that as we become influenced by the world around us we become horrible creatures. Both The Lamb and The Tyger are symbolic of the other poems in the collection of Songs of Innocence and Experience.

  2. "Holy Thursday" by Blake

    He says that they have gone up to praise "God and His Priest and King". It seems as if they are in it together. Ideology is there to support their power. They are said to "make up a Heaven of our misery".

  1. What is Blake saying about The Two Contrary States of Human Nature? What imagery ...

    It would have been hard to acknowledge that rather then praying to God we should pray to the qualities directly. By presenting the Virtues of Delight and exerting them in human form, Blake is suggesting that man embodies God. 'Pity has a human face.'

  2. 'Modernist writers disturbed their readers by adopting complex and difficult new forms and styles'. ...

    once, either in the mind of one character, who retreats into internal soliloquy, collapsing past, present and future, or in the simultaneous perspectives given by several characters recording a single moment. The result of either technique is that plot time stands still.13 Time is not entirely subjective and elastic in this text, however.

  1. How do Blake and Wordsworth respond to nature in their poetry and what other ...

    He feels as if he were wandering 'lonely as a cloud that floats on high o'er vales and hills' unrestricted to journey anywhere he likes. This specific line 'I wandered lonely as a cloud' represents an event that took place in Wordsworth's life and a personal experience.

  2. "To say the word Romanticism is to say modern art- that is intimacy, spirituality, ...

    These lines also inform the reader about the "harlot" and her baby. The "curse" which Blake relates to could be infecting of the harlot's baby with gonorrhoea. This is shown as her baby has a "tear" in her eye and probably has a problem with it, a symptom of gonorrhoea.

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