The Transformation: Then And Now Essay

2197 words - 9 pages

“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (New Living Translation, Gen. 1.27). William Blake, in his poem “The Divine Image”, uses multiple literary techniques, such as personification and repetition, to portray his idea that man and God share many of the same divine qualities. He later wrote the poem “A Divine Image”, which contrasts with the first by discussing the negative aspects of human beings. These negative characteristics are emphasized through the use of metaphors and, again, personification. Although the same rhyme scheme is used throughout both of the poems, the structure of each varies greatly adding to the opposing ideas set forth in the second poem. Through comparison of the two poems, a transformation from innocence to experience is revealed.
William Blake’s poem, “The Divine Image”, was first published in his book Songs of Innocence in 1789 during the industrial revolution in England. In his poem, Blake portrays the idea that through mercy, pity, peace, and love man can obtain a strong bond with God. One critic feels that when Blake refers to God, he is not referring to any specific religion, but to a God that is anywhere that the human heart has welcomed mercy, pity, peace, and love (Granger, “The Divine Image”). According to the poem, man prays to these obscure feelings when in distress then sends them his thanks when all is well. These traits combine to make up Blake’s idea of a God. He seems to suggest that there is little separation between God and his children because mercy, pity, peace, and love are also what make up man. The final two stanzas of this poem present the idea that every man prays to a God that consists of these traits whether they are praying to a Buddhist God, a Hindu God, or the Christian God. Based on Blake’s poem, everyone, no matter their religious or cultural beliefs, is worthy of receiving mercy, pity, love, and peace because everyone is capable of giving mercy, pity, love, and peace.
Personification is used throughout the poem “The Divine Image” to give mercy, pity, peace, and love a more palpable feel. Mercy is said to have a human heart. The intangibility of mercy makes this appear to be a paradoxical statement but, instead it offers a clear idea of Blake’s definition of mercy. The fact that mercy has a human heart suggests that mercy is something anyone is capable of, but many are not willing to give. Blake refers to pity as having a human face. This is because pity is a feeling that you cannot feel towards someone unless you see it yourself. You have to understand what that person is going through, and if you don’t you can’t feel pity towards them. He goes on to describe love, and he calls this feeling “the human form divine”. This is an uncanny comparison that reveals much about Blake’s perspective on love. The human form divine is the holy form of man, so by making this statement Blake is comparing love to Jesus. This...

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