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What Have You Understood To Be The Relationship Between Innocence And Experience In Blake's Songs? Support Your Discussion With Appropriate Illustration From The Poems.

2786 words - 11 pages

A Romantic as he was, William Blake created his rather simple songs as an opposition to the poetry the eighteenth-century poets tried to impose, the so called ornated word,poetry of beautiful words saying very little. Songs of Innocence and Experience are about the "two contrary states of the human soul" as Blake put it.To confirm this he wrote some of the poems of Innocence with their pairs in Experience. Such a pair is "The Lamb" from Innocence and "The Tyger" from Experience. "The Lamb" consists of two stanzas, each one of them based on simple rhyming scheme like the children's songs. The first stanza poses the questions while the second one is left for the answers. The questions are for the lamb, the speaker, presumably a child, asks the animal who has made it. The whole description of the animal supposes a meek and good one, the use of soft vowels makes the perception stronger. The second stanza gives the answers, although obvious, they are given in the form of a child's puzzle, showing a bit of naivete. After a bit of a puzzle-playing the answer is crystal clear, the creator of the lamb is God. With the lines "For he is called by thy name/For he calls himself a lamb" Blake reminds the reader of the Bible and more specifically of Jesus, who after his Crucifixion becomes the Lamb of God. Following this, the lamb is a symbol of naïve innocence, also suffering one. "The Tyger" is the "experienced" poem of the pair. The lines "Did He smile His work to see?/Did He who made the lamb make thee?" may be considered a symbolic centre of the poem. The persona asks the tyger if his creator is the one who created the lamb. The questions are seeking an answer and at the same time are showing deep disbelieve, how can God who created the meek lamb create also the fierce tiger and frame his "fearful symmetry". If innocence is naïve and suffering then experience, according to "The Tyger", whose eyes have burnt in "distant deeps or skies", should be dark and fierce having collected all the darkness "in the forests of the night" as is presented the life of the grown-up people in "The Tyger".If "The Tyger" from Experience is the opposite poem to "The Lamb", "To Tirzah" doesn't have a particular opposite in Innocence, it may be considered as a single poem opposing the whole of Songs of Innocence. Tirzah is one of the five daughters of Zelophehad, also the name of the capital of Israel, which is in opposition with Jerusalem, the city of God. The first stanza begins with the well-known fact that "Whate'er is born of mortal birth" dies. And ends with the question "Then what have I to do with thee?", it seems it is directed exactly to that mortal part of humans. The second stanza is a reminder of Genesis, the fall of Adam and Eve when looking for knowledge and their curse when drown out of Heaven, men to work with sweat on their foreheads and women to cry of pain while giving birth to their children. In the third stanza Tirzah proves out to be the mother of...

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