The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

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The Marriage of Heaven & Hell
William Blake
&
The Romantic Period

We, as members of the human race, have been endowed with five senses. We have the ability to reason and to be reasonable. We are able to present, receive, and mentally process information logically. The period in history when the importance of these innate functions was stressed is known as the "Age of Reason," or the Enlightenment. Also important to this age was the use of science, scientific methods, and theories. This period in history lasted until roughly 1774.

The Romantic Period followed period of Enlightenment. This age was the exact opposite of the Enlightenment. Tremendous importance was placed on the imagination. The authors, poets, and artists of this time vehemently disputed the theories of the Age of Reason. One of the ‘revolutionaries' of this time was William Blake. Blake is the author of many poems and letters and is one of the most famous writers of this age. I have chosen one of Blake's poems to analyze in respect to the age of Enlightenment and the Age of Reason. I intend to show in the following pages that, Blake's The Marriage of Heaven & Hell, does indeed conform to the characteristics and ideas of the Romantic era.

From its opening line, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell is filled with romanticism. "Rintrah roars & shakes his fires in the burdened air; . ." (Plate 2.1). Rintrah is Blake's name for a prophet or poet of the Old Testament. According to the ideas of romanticism, the role of the poet is to either become the prophet, or to illustrate the prophetic mode. Blake repeats this line in the last stanza of the first plate. Another example of the prophetic mode or "the poet as prophet" is when he says, "As a new heaven is begun, and it is not thirty-three years since its advent: the Eternal Hell revives" (3.1-2). Here, Blake makes a subtle reference to himself as filling the role of the Christ-like prophet. Blake again takes on the role of the...
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