Wednesday, June 4, 2008

William Blake

William Blake (1757-1827) Poet and Artist

William Blake wrote a poetic collection in 1789 called Songs of Innocence. Innocence was such a good word to use in the title of this collection because it was written from a child’s point of view. A child has been viewed throughout time as being the most innocent of innocent because they are seen as the purest.
William Blake wrote a poem labeled as “Little Lamb”. In this poem I believe there is a parallel drawn from the innocence of a lamb to the innocence of a child. The lamb is also symbolic in religion as the forgiveness of sin, to make pure or innocent again. In the first 11 sentences of this poem Blake writes several questions. These questions are “Little lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee? …Making all the vales rejoice? Little lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee?” Each of these questions are essentially biblical in nature. I believe that the questions are asked to see if the Lamb, or child, knows who their maker is. In church we are taught at a very young age that God is our maker and he makes all things. I think the parallel is well drawn in this writing.
In a contrasting collection written by Blake in 1794 called “Songs of Experience”, the lamb becomes a Tyger (Tiger). In this writing, innocence is turned to evil. This poem is full of layers of rhetorical questions. The symbols used by Blake in this poem, leaves the reader to draw many conclusions about what is being said. When Blake writes that “…Tyger burning bright…” I believe that evil is not hidden and can sometimes be viewed clearly…”burning bright”ly While Blake talks about evil he also symbolizes God throughout the poem.
In “The Lamb”, Blake writes about the creation of a pure lamb that has the innocence of a child, while in “The Tyger”, Blake talks about the creation of evil. I believe that Blake is using irony between good (innocence) and evil. The poems still shows that the good is created by the same person who creates evil. “The Tyger” shows the rhetorical question by referring to who created the lamb in “The Tyger” showing that good and evil are created together and is in constant turmoil.

1 comment:

Jonathan.Glance said...


I like the portraits you provide for your blog--nice touch to spruce up your page!

Good juxtaposition of Blake's lamb and tiger poems, with some effective textual passages quoted to illustrate your discussion. Also, good observations about how Blake portrays the animals so differently here.

Keep up the good work.