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A Study Of Blake's Mythological Character, Urizen.

1087 words - 4 pages

Urizen is a complex character in William Blake's mythology. He appears in many works and represents much of what Blake is vehemetly opposed to. By taking close readings of parts of "The First Book of Urizen," a reader can gain a better understanding of exactly what Urizen is. He is the god created by men of the Enlightenment such as Newton. In Blake's mind, he is truly the devil as well.THE FIRST BOOK OF URIZENPlate 2PRELUDIUM TO THE FIRST BOOK OF URIZENOf the primeval Priest's assum'd power,When Eternals spurn'd back his religionAnd gave him a place in the north,Obscure, shadowy, void, solitary.Eternals! I hear your call gladly.Dictate swift winged words & fear notTo unfold your dark visions of torment.In this prelude, Blake speaks of a primeval priest who assumes power. Evidently, a group of "Eternals" contained his religion (and him for that matter) and ostricized him. These Eternals are all of the gods and goddesses that exist in Blake's mythology such as Los, Orc, and Oothoon. Blake then calls on the Eternals to dictate the story of this priest to him.Plate 3Chap: II. Lo, a shadow of horror is risenIn Eternity! Unknown, Unprolific,Self-clos'd, all-repelling: what DemonHath form'd this abominable void,This soul-shuddering vacuum? Some said"It is Urizen." But unknown, abstracted,Brooding, secret, the dark power hid.Here is the introduction of Urizen, one of the main characters in Blake's mythology. Blake describes him as a shadow of horror, a dark power. He is closed upon himself in a void, nothingness. Obviously, Urizen is some kind of god at this point. He exists where there is nothing. Some say that he even formed this nothingness. It is important to look at his name. Urizen is easily construed into "your reason." Is Blake speaking to anyone in particualar?2. Times on times he divided & measur'dSpace by space in his ninefold darkness,Unseen, unknown: changes appear'dLike desolate mountains, rifted furiousBy the black winds of perturbation.3. For he strove in battles dire,In unseen conflictions with shapesBred from his forsaken wildernessOf beast, bird, fish serpent & element,Combustion, blast vapour and cloud.4. Dark revolving in silent activity:Unseen in tormenting passions;An activity unknown and horrible;A self-contemplating shadow,In enormous labours occupied5. But Eternals beheld his vast forestsAge on ages he lay, clos'd, unknownBrooding shut in the deep; all avoidThe petrific abominable chaos.Although Urizen was described earlier as in nothingness, now he is seen dividing and measuring something. It really doesn't matter what, it just matters that there is something there at all. Urizen is not the eternal creator god of Christian mythology. Instead, is someone's concept of that god. Next, Urizen strives in battle with earthly things such as beasts and birds. This leads a reader to believe that Urizen is not alone anymore. However, this is directly contradictory to the beginning of Chapter 2.1. Earth was not: nor globes of...

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