What have you understood to be the relationship between innocence and experience in Blake's Songs? Support your discussion with appropriate illustration from the poems.

Essay by selisUniversity, Bachelor's September 2004

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A Romantic as he was, William Blake created his rather simple songs as an opposition to the poetry the eighteenth-century poets tried to impose, the so called ornated word,poetry of beautiful words saying very little. Songs of Innocence and Experience are about the "two contrary states of the human soul" as Blake put it.

To confirm this he wrote some of the poems of Innocence with their pairs in Experience. Such a pair is "The Lamb" from Innocence and "The Tyger" from Experience. "The Lamb" consists of two stanzas, each one of them based on simple rhyming scheme like the children's songs. The first stanza poses the questions while the second one is left for the answers. The questions are for the lamb, the speaker, presumably a child, asks the animal who has made it. The whole description of the animal supposes a meek and good one, the use of soft vowels makes the perception stronger.

The second stanza gives the answers, although obvious, they are given in the form of a child's puzzle, showing a bit of naivete. After a bit of a puzzle-playing the answer is crystal clear, the creator of the lamb is God. With the lines "For he is called by thy name/For he calls himself a lamb" Blake reminds the reader of the Bible and more specifically of Jesus, who after his Crucifixion becomes the Lamb of God. Following this, the lamb is a symbol of naïve innocence, also suffering one. "The Tyger" is the "experienced" poem of the pair. The lines "Did He smile His work to see?/Did He who made the lamb make thee?" may be considered a symbolic centre of the poem. The persona asks the tyger if his creator is the one who created the lamb. The questions are seeking an...