The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

I really enjoyed reading “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” and looking at Blake’s colored plates that went along with them, because it added a whole new layer of meaning to the work.  The visuals gave us another thing to consider and think about, and it was interesting to see how the poetry and the images fit together.  I was particularly interested in the section that began “The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects / with Gods and Geniuses…” and had the following plate : http://www.blakearchive.org/exist/blake/archive/object.xq?objectid=mhh.c.illbk.11&java=yes.

I was intrigued by the artwork because I didn’t entirely understand it.  Blake writes of “adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations…”  With this I can see a connection because the people in the plate seem to reflect characteristics of many of those things that were listed, such as the figure in the upper left, who appears to be coming from the ground and is colored green, almost as if she is one of the plants.  The figure at the bottom is much darker, and looks to be surrounded in waves.  I wonder if these images are supposed to show the different aspects of the natural world reflected in human nature.  The top image seems very alive, while the bottom one is very dark.

The poem ends with, “Thus men forgot, that All deities reside / in the human breast.”  The connection I drew from this line and the artwork was that it was supposed to represent the way all of these different aspects reside within humans.  But I also found it to be rather confusing to work out, and I am still unsure that this was what Blake was going for.

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One thought on “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

  1. I agree with your statement about the connection because I thought the same thing about the figure coming up from the ground. It almost seem that she is rising from the ground either as one of the plants or with them. I also really enjoyed plate 11 as well. It was very visual and pictorial.

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