top-rated free essay

“the Sick Rose” by William Blake

By nurfathulafiqah Mar 02, 2012 778 Words
This poetry analysis of "The Sick Rose" poem by William Blake mainly presents a review of the themes and imagery presented by the poet. A good poetry critique or essay should start with a free and open look at the title to see what clues the poet offers the reader about his message. Clearly,William Blake is going to address themes of perfection and imperfection, life and death or growth and decay in this poem. The language of the poem. Blake has used thirty-four words in 'The Sick Rose'. Twenty-nine of these are single syllables. The effect of this is to make the poem seem very simple which is it has a nursery rhyme quality, almost.

My first impression of the poem was that its very negative and includes elements of destructin revenge and perhaps even murder. I think the poems about two lovers, one of which cheated on their partner and the other wants revenge.

The poem is very contradictory, this is shown in the first line “O Rose, thou art sick”. What is the rose? There are positive words associated with it, 'life' and 'joy'. Roses are symbols of love, of femininity, of beauty, of sexuality. The rose is also 'crimson', a very deep red which could suggest passion, or blood, or sin (as in 'scarlet woman'). It also has a 'bed' which is again, this could have sexual associations, or it could suggest being 'rooted' and passive.

Blake addresses the rose as a person. The effect of apostrophizing the rose is to add impetus and drive to the speaker's tone, creating a mood of alarm from the very beginning. A rose usually symbolises beauty, romance and love, it’s a very feminine image but then it is said to be sick so we instantly sense something is wrong. The rose could be damaged or hurt. I think the rose is playing the part of the woman and the worm is personified as the man. We are in no doubt that something is wrong and that something sad and worrying has happened. Blake could be talking about a real rose here, or using a metaphor for his society, which he may perceive as being damaged.

The vocabulary of the poem is also very simple. Blake has chosen to use basic words like 'storm' and 'night', the words which have simple meanings but also many associations. Think of all the things you associate with the word 'night', for instance, darkness, sleep, dreams, sex, and so on. The key to working out an interpretation of the poem is to look at the associations of the words. As you read it, think about and jot down what the words mean to you.

“The invisible worm”. The image of the worm is very unusual but yet very effective. Worms are seen as slimy, dirty and they feed on death, it even holds some kind of dirty and they feed on death, it even holds some kind of sexual element. He fact that the worm is invisible indicates it can’t be stopped and nothing can be done because it can’t be seen. The worm, by contrast, is active and seems entirely negative. It is also 'invisible', 'dark', 'secret'; it 'finds out' and 'destroys'. The worm is sneaky which is already invisible, it travels under the cover of darkness. It 'loves' the rose, yet its love is completely destructive.

Blake is inviting us to see the rose and the worm as symbols which is they must 'stand for' something but it is hard to know for certain what that something is. A common interpretation is that the rose represents beauty and innocence and the worm represents corruption and decay, all beauty must inevitably grow rotten. The collection of poems in which 'The Sick Rose' appeared, 'Songs of Experience', is full of images of innocence becoming corrupted and ruined. Alternatively, a feminist might see the rose as symbolising a woman and the worm a man, which destroys the rose's life with his oppressive 'love'. A religious reading might see the worm as being a close relative of the serpent in the Garden of Eden, corrupting the innocent beauty of humanity with original sin.

Any interpretation, though, will look at the use of opposites in the poem. The worm and the rose are opposites, the worm is invisible, fast-moving, destructive which is the rose is crimson, static, and joyful. They are in conflict as a result, the rose ends up being slowly destroyed. In conclusion, “The Sick Rose” uses fierce, moving words to create strong feelings as it concludes with death, grief and great emotional sorrow.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • The Sick Rose, ” by William Blake.

    ...I chose to write about, “The Sick Rose,” by William Blake. I found this poem to be very interesting. It can be interpreted in many different ways. In a biography about symbolism by The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia, they point out the fact that Blake uses many words such as bed, worm, love, and joy. All of these words have a strong re...

    Read More
  • "The Sick Rose"

    ...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 controll...

    Read More
  • William Blake

    ...McCarthy 1 Lizzy McCarthy 26 April 2013 1A Innocence and Experience During the Romantic Age, many poets focused on connecting with their audience on a deeper level by writing about mundane topics. William Blake exemplifies this characteristic of Romantic Age poets with his use of animals, cities, and everyday jobs, such as the chi...

    Read More
  • Comparision Between "The Fog" by Carll Sandburg and "The Sick Rose" by William Blake

    ...The poems “Fog” by Carl Sandburg and the “The Sick Rose” by William Blake have many similarities and differences. Both the poems use animals and bad weather in their content. “Fog” uses a cat and the fog while in the “The Sick Rose” there is a worm and a storm. The poets use the bad weather to create a sense of unhappiness to the...

    Read More
  • The Sick Rose

    ...Connotations of words Little clues How can it be sick ? The qualities of humanbeings Giving human-like qualities The Sick Rose * Sick * Songs of experience * Badness * Unhealthy * Depressed * Infected * Imperfection * Aware or not? * The rose is sick. * Personification ...

    Read More
  • The Sick Rose Interpretation

    ...‘The Sick Rose’ * William Blake The Sick Rose short is a poem by William Blake from Songs of Experience; it was published in 1794. The poem from the very beginning with its title starts with symbols. The whole poem with every word holds many different meanings. The “rose” is a symbol for some sort of like that got attacked by the “w...

    Read More
  • The Sick Rose

    ...Q1. What does the rose signify here in the poem The Sick Rose? Ans1. The rose is a beautiful flower. In the poem The Sick Rose the poet chooses the flower rose to signify all that is tender, beautiful and admired by man. The rose also signifies the tender feeling of love which has made life possible on earth. The rose can also be taken as a sym...

    Read More
  • William Blake

    ...WILLIAM BLAKE William Blake was born in 1757, the third son of a London tradesman who sold knitwear. Blake lived in London which dominated much of his work. He was a British poet, painter, and engraver, who illustrated and printed his own books. He spent most of his life in relative poverty. He was very influenced by his brother’s death w...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.