W Illiam Blake, A Visionary Essay

1317 words - 5 pages

Blake was a man active of mind and body, changing occupations without a minute of repose in between. ‘Apocalyptic’ is a word that can be used in describing William Blake’s works, whether it be a poem, artwork, or story. Although, incredibly relevant in his own time, I believe that his work resonates even more strongly in today’s society.
The following stanza comes from one of Blake’s most well renowned poems “Auguries of Innocence” one of the most prolific verses’ in history;
To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a Wildflower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour

Blake’s capability to produce confrontational poetry is outstanding, in the above verse alone the paradox’s used are exceptional. “Hold infinity in the palm of your hand”, in a literal sense this is completely incomprehensible, and almost ungraspable in human understanding, as the proposed statement is highly illogical and requires higher order thinking and a sense of spiritual understanding. Throughout Blake’s poetry he presents his many philosophies through wildly imaginative and sometimes unfathomable verses and rhymes. The poetry of Blake is so brilliantly pieced together through succession of couplets, you cannot stop yourself from reading, even if you don’t quite grasp what he’s trying to convey. That’s the beauty of Blake’s poetry; it presents us with so many interesting ideas and concepts which one has perhaps never considered before.

Blake’s poetry is very much a representation of how he saw society; his strong opinions of the actions, behaviours and way of life of those around him. ‘Auguries of Innocence” deftly reflects his disgust, confusion and frustration with the restrictive and selfish society that he lived in. His poetry can be called revolutionary; he brought fresh ideas, beliefs and concepts to the eyes of those around him.

“Nought can deform the human race, like to the armour's iron brace”, this verse conveys Blake’s strong opinion and hatred of war. Blake lived through the French revolution and bloodshed was a common element of society, and assumed by society to be a way of life. Blake expresses his outlook on war, as the epitome of human failure, which will, inevitably destroy not only the armies or countries under attack but all of human civilisation. This is epitomised in the use of the word ‘deformed’ as it has strong negative connotations of how war has disabled the human race and will continue to do so until we’re so deformed as a race that we are no longer human. An idea which is still very prominent and strongly resonates today in an age where the ‘War on Terror’ continues to cripple modern civilisation.

Throughout this poem, Blake has scattered pockets of philosophical ideas and wisdom. His poetry as a whole reflects on humanity. He describes an array of mannerisms, acts of cruelty, selfishness and descriptive comparisons, all the while keeping the poem flowing and rhyming superbly. The emotion he...

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