Urizen is a complex character in William Blake's mythology. He appears in many works and represents much of what Blake is vehemetly opposed to. By taking close readings of parts of "The First Book of Urizen," a reader can gain a better understanding of exactly what Urizen is. He is the god created by men of the Enlightenment such as Newton. In Blake's mind, he is truly the devil as well.
THE FIRST BOOK OF URIZEN
PRELUDIUM TO THE FIRST BOOK OF URIZEN
Of the primeval Priest's assum'd power,
When Eternals spurn'd back his religion
And gave him a place in the north,
Obscure, shadowy, void, solitary.
Eternals! I hear your call gladly.
Dictate swift winged words & fear not
To unfold your dark visions of torment.
In this prelude, Blake speaks of a primeval priest who assumes power. Evidently, a group of "Eternals" contained his religion (and him for that matter) and ostricized him.
These Eternals are all of the gods and goddesses that exist in Blake's mythology such as Los, Orc, and Oothoon. Blake then calls on the Eternals to dictate the story of this priest to him.
I. Lo, a shadow of horror is risen
In Eternity! Unknown, Unprolific,
Self-clos'd, all-repelling: what Demon
Hath form'd this abominable void,
This soul-shuddering vacuum? Some said
"It is Urizen." But unknown, abstracted,
Brooding, secret, the dark power hid.
Here is the introduction of Urizen, one of the main characters in Blake's mythology. Blake describes him as a shadow of horror, a dark power. He is closed upon himself in a void, nothingness. Obviously, Urizen is some kind of god at this point. He exists where there is nothing. Some say that he even formed this nothingness. It...