Tembong Denis Fonge
Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience generally subscribe to the main stream appreciation that they present the reader with two states of the human condition - the pastoral, pure and natural world of lambs and blossoms on the one hand, and the world of experience characterized by exploitation, cruelty, conflict and hypocritical humility on the other hand. However, Blake’s songs communicate experiences that go beyond the ordinary, to demonstrate that the human soul essentially, is like a two sided coin. This makes it difficult to give the poems simplistic treatment as may be suggested by the simplicity of language and form of the songs. On this score, I strongly identify with Shadrack Ambansom’s opinion that “it would therefore be myopic to consider Blake as a simple poet… indeed no poet who was capable of presenting penetrating studies of the devious and treacherous human heart as ‘The Human Abstract’, and ‘A Poison Tree’ etc can be called simple” (24).
Blake, like Marlowe in Dr. Faustus, exhibits in his Songs of Innocence and Experience that the human soul has a dual nature, essentially made up of both the good and evil phases. Songs of Innocence for example, do not only represent the innocence of the human soul at its early stage of life called childhood, but also describe the spiritual attachment of the soul to its creator. Blake attaches extreme importance and gives orthodox treatment to this divine connection between the creator and his creation. In the same vein, Northrop Frye thinks “when we say that the goal of human work can only be accomplished in eternity” (58) it means that the cot that binds man to his creator goes beyond the physical.
On the other hand, Songs of experience represent the inherent evil side of the soul. The human spirit, Blake seems to suggest, possesses this dual nature of the good and evil from... [continues]
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