The Classical period, the era before the Romantics came about, was an age of reason and science. There was great emphasis on what was known and strong interpretation of what was not known and represented in the arts. Art and society was logical and governed by rules and propriety. Romanticism challenged this view and were committed to mixing everything up and putting things back together again – the key theme of unity in the arts and human life. In this poem, Blake is parodying a book from the Classical period, by a man called Swedenborg called ‘Heaven and Hell’, which reinforced the beliefs of the divide of good and evil, heaven and hell. This poem shows that Blake is keen on switching the values heaven and hell represent, so that his own beliefs about religion can be seen.
Blake, as with all poets, have a knack to create. Blake created an entire Mythology of gods and beings in a series of other poems, with characteristics he believed are true if they were to exist. Rintrah is the prophet, and can be seen as the equivalent of Jesus. When “Rintrah roars and shakes his fires”, it is giving this Christ like character what the average person see as demonic characteristics. “The deep”, referring to hell, he says contain swagging clouds. We associate clouds with heaven. This is therefore reversing the idealistic views of man- a symbolic representation that hell is good and heaven is evil. This matches with Blake’s beliefs that control over freedom is evil, and that control comes from our society built on religion and faith.
Blake believed that :
“Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to human existence. From these contraries spring what the religious call Good and Evil. Good is the passive that obeys reason. Evil is the active springing from energy.” Man is the combination of light and dark. Blake believes that true holiness is not to choose the path of light, but to be in harmony...
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