William Blake’s Arguement of Heaven and Hell

Blake is creating an arguement through his piece, about the challenge of ideas about heaven and hell. Throughout the piece, Blake compares and contrasts the ideas of good and evil with those of heaven and hell. The expression he uses about heaven and all bibles are the cause, “that man has two real existing principles Viz: a body and soul. 2. That Energy, calld Evil, is alone from the Body & that Reason, calld Good, is alone from the Soul.” Blake is creating an arguement that the energy in a person’s body has absolutely nothing to do with any religious affiliation. Appearing as an advocator of the devil, Blake is quite spiritual in a higher context. The way that he applies his “devil’s advocate” into his piece is intruiging. The ideas do put different questions in your mind about religion and its association with good and evil. The way that Blake speaks and applies the context of hell, it seems to emphasize the fact that his application of the philisophical “mind-body” problem has overlapped with his ideas of religion (heaven and hell) and/or good and evil. The most interesting and emphasized point in the piece is how Blake speaks harshly against any Bible, and writes as if he is personal friends with the devil as they believe it to be infernal. The overall message appears to be that we as individual act in such a way and to continue to act on impluse and do not think about our actions will result in destruction of faith. Blake sends an entertaining and odd perspective of this idea up for debate.

Incorporating artistry with the poem, it creates an entirely different perspective on what is going on in the poem. With the images of both good and evil, come images of the one God and the people he has created. However, they are falling in some instances, for example inside the text here (http://www.blakearchive.org/exist/blake/archive/object.xq?objectid=mhh.c.illbk.06&java=yes). It emphasizes the point that Blake is trying to make considering the time period and motives of individuals of that time. Another artist work appears to be showing Blake himself with an angel of heaven and hell, (http://www.blakearchive.org/exist/blake/archive/object.xq?objectid=mhh.c.illbk.10&java=yes), possibly creating an idea through imagry that Blake really is not a satan worshiper. It is also important to look past only the words and understand why this particular method of writing that Blake uses is so effective.

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2 thoughts on “William Blake’s Arguement of Heaven and Hell

  1. A decent summary, but it doesn’t complete the assignment. Please see the syllabus for 9/7, which asks you to compare the visual differences between two digitized versions of the poem online.

  2. I agree with you that incorporating art into the poem changes the entire experience! You mentioned that the picture on plate 10 suggest that Blake is not a Satan worshiper, however, I was curious if you feel that the images in the 1794 edition of the poem (which appear much darker and more evil) still get the same message across? Do you think that the poem and images were revised in 1794 in order to reiterate the messages that Blake was trying to send?

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