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

William Blake was one of the first romantic poets, writing during the French and American revolutions in 1780

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

William Blake was one of the first romantic poets, writing during the French and American revolutions in 1780. Romantic poets believe that people should be free to follow their own desires, everyone has a right to pursue and fulfil their desires in order to be happy, that imagination is more important than science and logic, and that childhood is important and should be innocent. Blake was a visionary writer, he talked to God and angels came to him in his dreams and visions. He translates these experiences into his poems. He viewed God as an artist, active and full of passion and love, rather than a scientist. However, Blake disliked institutions such as the Church and formal religion, the government and the royal family. Blake believed that people should have open marriages and to enjoy s*x, possibly with multiple partners, and was also against unions such as marriages. Society and the Church taught people to think that s*x was sinful and wrong, whereas Blake believed s*x and desire is a connection to God and spirituality. Blake was especially frustrated with the Church, he thought they were controlling people, especially the poor and working classes. These institutions would teach that although people may be poor and unhappy in this life, if they do not rebel they will be able to go to Heaven and be rewarded. This was seen by Blake as a form of brain washing, 'London', a poem found in Blake's Songs of Experience, relates to the poet's views on the English capital in the 19th century. Blake employs a consistent rhyming structure similar to that of 'The Schoolboy' but with shorter four line verses. The poem, written in Blake's first person, is obviously expressing his own personal opinions. The first stanza relates to the strict uniformity of London's plotted land (a pet hate of Blake's) along with the poet's observations of troubled citizens ('Marks of weakness, marks of woe'). ...read more.

Middle

He has been taught questions and answers, and knows that God was once a lamb and then a child, but the child no longer questions what he has been taught. He (or she) is happy and safe, and so is still in the world of innocence. In this poem Blake is challenging the way the Church has brain washed children to not question their fate and to accept unhappiness. The child in the Lamb describes God as 'He is meek, and He is mild;' which to Blake is too passive. A God needs to be strong and helpful, the opposite to meek and mild. The language used is simple, and reflective of the world of innocence. For example, 'delight' and 'bright'. This is also end rhyme, to emphasise the child's delight at talking with the little lamb about his God, and how everyone is a part of him. The child rejoices in his knowledge and is proud of himself on teaching the lamb about his creator. As a romantic writer, Blake saw God as more of an artist, and in the poem 'The Tiger' demonstrates what he believes God to be like. The Tiger is paired with the Lamb, and although it is in the songs of experience, the person is returning to innocence by asking so many questions. These questions, such as 'In what distant deeps or skies Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What hand dare seize the fire?' challenge God. In this poem, Blake is marvelling what kind of God could make such a beautiful, deadly creature. Blake is showing that if God can make something as gentle as a lamb, and then makes a killing machine such as a Tiger, He must be dangerous. Blake is also portraying God as a workman or blacksmith, with the line 'In what furnace was thy brain?'. The God in this poem, despite not answering the questions, is clearly more of an artist. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although this child has parents, they have left him to go to the church to pray. It is as though he has no parents, like the boy in the songs of innocence. Blake is showing that the parents have also been corrupted by the Church, and are helping to brain wash their child. Blake also explicitly demonstrates his views on the monarchy and the church in the last two lines, 'And are gone to praise God and His Priest and King, Who make up a Heaven of our misery.' The full stop at the end of the sentence finalises the poem's message that the child, along with his parents and church goers, are doomed to be unhappy whilst the Church and monarchy continue to restrict and control. The young boy in the world of experience appears no hope of return to innocence. Unlike the boy in the songs of innocence, this child cannot even dream in the world of innocence. Blake is showing the boy is so restricted that not even in his dreams is he able to be free. In the first poem, the boy uses 'I' , whereas this child is described as 'a little black thing'. This is showing that the child is not aware of its own identity, it has been so exposed to the world of experience. 'a little black thing' also shows that he has been corrupted, the colour black being a negative colour in the world of experience. 'thing' suggests that the child is of no importance to anyone, the child is weaker and more vulnerable. He has no protection from parents or even other chimney sweepers as companions and support. He is totally alone in a world where no one, including the church, will help him. 'Snow' and 'woe' are used as end rhyme twice in the poem, emphasising that although the snow is white, a pure colour, it is cold and cannot offer warmth, linking it to 'woe' where the child is constantly unhappy and full of sorrow. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree 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 University Degree Blake essays

  1. Explain how Blake uses imagery, form and language in these poems to express his ...

    Most chimney sweeps were recruited from the age of four, and they suffered during this time. They often suffered long-term injuries such as asthma, inflammation of the eyes, burned limbs, malformed spines and legs and tuberculosis. However, in 1964 an act of parliament was approved by the House of Lords, outlawing the use of children for chimney sweeping.

  2. How does William Blake use symbolism to comment on society in Songs of Experience?

    Whereas the poem 'The Tyger' was written from the perspective of a more experienced person who had seen all of the evil in the world. Blake questions the creator of the lamb and he compares the lambs' characteristics to its creator.

  1. Allen Ginsberg has been endlessly talked and written about for the better part of ...

    Allen Ginsberg was born in Paterson, New Jersey to a conventional father who was a high school teacher and a poet himself. His mother was obsessed with politics and suffered from a mental illness that landed her in an institution for many years which had a deep, troubling affect on him.

  2. The Little Black Boy.

    In another of Blake's poems, 'The Marriage of Heaven and h**l', Blake offers an alternative relation between a soul and a body: "Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that called Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five Senses."

  1. Essay on William Blake

    The second speaker then narrates the story of a girl who rebels against the church and does fall in love despite it being thought of as a crime. "Parents were afar: / Strangers came not near: / And the maiden soon forgot her fear."

  2. How William Blake incorporated his attitudes to society into his poems.

    I think this shows how strongly he believed in this corruption, to the extent that he would be willing to die for it.

  1. Free essay

    Carefully read the poem 'Washing Day' by Anna Laetitia Barbauld. Write an essay of ...

    The reference to the master's socks that 'Gape wide as Erebus' (line 38), however, is both an example of the poet's use of simile and pun. In comparing the holes in his socks to the entrance of the underworld/h**l, Barbauld injects humour into an otherwise serious segment of the poem.

  2. How does Blake use 'songs of innocence and experience' to express his views about ...

    In this poem his tone is rejoicing in god's creations. He uses a rhyming structure of a a b b c c d d e e for both stanzas, he uses rhyming couplets.

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