"The Sick Rose"

Topics: Meaning of life, Symbol, William Blake Pages: 4 (1224 words) Published: October 31, 2013
Interpretation of “The Sick Rose”
William Blake’s “The Sick Rose” is not easily interpreted at first glance. One must look at the deeper meaning behind the figurative symbols that Blake uses to uncover the essence of the poem. In the poem “The Sick Rose” the rose symbolizes a mentally unstable woman due to her abusive and controlling relationship with a man. This is demonstrated by the use of figurative language (symbolism and imagery in particular), the speaker’s tone, and the two illustrations presented.

Blake portrayed the meaning behind the symbol “the rose” by using figurative language throughout the poem. To understand what the rose is symbolizing one must look at the other figurative symbols that are presented in the poem to help grasp the meaning behind the main symbol, the rose. The first line of the poem, Blake refers to the rose as being sick. By using the adjective “sick” Blake is giving the rose a human characteristic, which leads one to believe that the rose is referring to a human who is “sick”. Since the sickness is not literally shown in a physical way, one could assume that “sick” is referring to mentally unstable women. Another example of symbolism in the poem is when Blake writes “ The invisible worm” (line 2). The worm is representing something that must be interpreted due to the fact that worms cannot literally be invisible. The adjective invisible is used to describe the worm, meaning that something about it is unseen. We also know from reading the rest of the poem that the worm is affecting the rose in a negative way. The last line of the poem presents this idea when it reveals, “Does thy life destroy”(line 8). The word love is used in line seven which leads one to comprehend that the worm is a man, who is emotionally involved with the woman. Concluded from both of the figurative language symbols, the rose represents a woman who is in an abusive and controlling relationship with a man. The term invisible represents the abuse. It...


Cited: Blake, William. "Songs of Innocence and of Experience, copy A, 1795 (British Museum): electronic edition." Welcome to the William Blake Archive. 2006.Web. 2 Nov. 2010. .
Blake, William. "Songs of Innocence and of Experience, copy Y, 1825 (Metropolitan Museum of Art): electronic edition." Welcome to the William Blake Archive.2006.Web. 2 Nov. 2010. .
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