William Blake



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William Blake

• Visionary poet: he claimed to see visions from heaven.
• He is a poet and a painter at the same time. He believes that poetry should be accompanied by paintings. Quite peculiar writer: he stands apart from the romantic literature for his extravagant personality.
• Revolutionary poet: He believes in total freedom. He get married with a girl completely illiterate and he tries to educate her. Blake strongly believe in a revolution because it can establish a better world.
• He is religious himself but he’s against the church as an institution.

• Published in two different period, but they were collected together.
• Contraposition, union of discordant elements (childhood, adulthood, good part, bad part). Blake does not put them in contrast: there’s a continuity.
• The poems are paintings, they were printed in copper plates pages. (originality)
• Musicality: simple language(only apparently). Songs of innocence are easier than songs of experience.

• 3 stanzas: there is a symmetry between the first and the last stanza(they have the same structure and a lot of terms in common), but they’re in contrast.
• Ring composition.
• Metaphor: the clod(lump of earth, unselfish love) and the pebble(a small stone, selfish love).[contrasting words of innocence and experience]

• Rhythm: slow and calm (songs of innocence)
• Archaic words (are giving the idea of being in an ancient world)
• Wild use of repetition
• Sense of serenity
• It seems a song made for children, a nursery rime. The language is apparently simple: behind this simplicity we have to consider that the lamb is something deeper. We realize the importance of the word “childhood” a period revalued in the romantic age (Blake, Wordsworth).
• Lamb is the symbol of a child, Christ and the poet. Is a mild, innocent, tender animal.

• Hammering rhythm (alliteration of the dental “t” that is scanning the hammering rhythm)
• Oxymoron: burning bright. All the poems are dealing with the contrast between two different natures. The tiger is beautiful and fearful at the same time.
• “the forests of the night” a reclaim of a Dante’s expression.
• Tiger: the power o creation: he becomes the symbol of an overreacher who tries to create something over the limit (Frankenstein)
• Icarous and Prometeus: two dreamers (in a romantic point of view). Also William Blake is a dreamer.

• It describes the look of London after the industrial revolution. Utilitarianism: all the society is in function of the production. Utilitarianism is a philosophical view(adam Smith) and was applied to the social and the economical context.
• “I wander”(he’s walking without a specific destination): the poet is the main protagonist.
• “charter”= something that is imposed, they are under the power of the economy. “I wander” gives a sense of freedom, “charter” has the opposite meaning.
• Unpleasant situation: “manacles” are created by the mind.
• To ban:
- to reject (is a prohibition)
- a wedding announcement
• He ears, not he sees, he creates a sense of enlarging feelings. He perceive the real sufferance.
• Cause of suffering: the church, that is directly responsible of the exploitation. He critics the church as an institution because it’s ignoring the situation.
- the blackness of church corrupted
- the physical outlook of London: the coal and the pollution
- to be awful
- is a pun of the word “pall”: it is a black cloth that was used to cover the coffins at funerals.
• The soldiers blood is the direct responsibility of the government. “Palace”: people who lives in Parliament.
• “Harlots curse”: The direct consequence of prostitution is a malediction. It causes syphilis (causes blindness) that is a plague that can be sexually transmitted.
Hearse( = carro funebre o carro nunziale): there is this tragic ambiguity between love and death.