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William Blake

Blake made use of simple vocabulary and syntax. He employed a traditional metrical pattern that accompanies a sequence of images. Blake published Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. This collection of poetry aimed at exposing the two contrary states of the human mind: innocence and experience. Innocence in his poems is symbolised by chilwood, characterised by joy and happiness, freedom and imagination. Experience is the world of the Tyger, the world of reason, of the adult. Innocence and experience are two contrary but complementary states, necessary to achieve real knowledge. Blake believed that without contraries there isn’t progression.

Poems

The Lamb

The Lamb wants to be a discussion about creation. The images considered by the poet are images of serenity and peace, which are supported by the monotonous rhythm and repetition. The poet really knows the answer of the series of questions and he wants to communicate it to the lamb. In fact the significance of the lamb includes the little animal, the child, the poet and Christ.

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice!
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

The Tyger

The Tyger is the symbol of violence and evil and no one seem to be able to give an answer to his questions (in this case the questions would be rethorical). Blake can’t convince himelf that the creator of the Tyger is the same good God who created the Lamb.

Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when the heart began to beat,
What dread hand? And what dread feet?
What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

London

London in Blake’s condamnation of a corrupt, selfish and repressed society. Blake presents a picture of the London of his time. There are 3 contrasted groups of victims: the children are victims of the Church (he also refers to the sale of orphans, that was made by the church for the very hard work that could be made only by young children), the soldiers are victims of the Palace (which symbolizes political institutions and tyrannical powers) and the harlots are victims of marriage laws (the institutional marriage kills love which survives in the debased, sexual offering of prostitution, but this diseased love blights the children of marriage).

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every blackning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse

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