Compare and Contrast the Romantics: William Blake and Mary Wollstonecraft

1041 Words May 1st, 2014 5 Pages
Compare and Contrast The Romantics: William Blake and Mary Wolstonecraft
Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman sets out to invalidate the social and religious standards of her time in regards to gender, just as William Blake sets out to do the same for children. Both Blake and Wollstonecraft can be read by the average man and woman, lending its attention toward both upper and middle class. Wollstonecraft’s revolutionary themes of tyranny and oppression of women parallel the themes in Blake’s poetry of the tyranny and oppression of children; hence, leading the reader to the Romantic notion of empathy.
Wollstonecraft’s use of nonfiction prose for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman sets her apart from the
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Because women of her time were seen as “creatures” who lacked good sense and moral virtues, Wollstonecraft vehemently defends her gender by shifting the cause of these “female follies,” on men and argues, “From the tyranny of man, I firmly believe, the greater number of female follies proceed; and the cunning, which I allow makes at present a part of their character, I likewise have repeatedly endeavored to prove, is produced by oppression.”
Blake directly addresses the same Romantic theme of tyranny and oppression towards children in
“Holy Thursday” wherein he bluntly, yet poetically says, “Is this a holy thing to see/ In a rich and fruitful land/ Babes reduced to misery/ Fed with cold and usurious hands” (lines 1-4).
Although Blake uses poetic blatancy, while Wollstonecraft uses direct nonfiction prose, both epitomize “Romanticism” with their revolutionary themes of an unjust system of society that points towards immoral conduct by using the weaker for their own happiness and gain.
A characteristic tone of Romanticism is to evoke empathy within the reader to gain a deeper understanding of the revolutionary topics. In Vindication, as Wollstonecraft argues that a woman should have proper education so that she may exercise her hidden power of the use of reason when “young love” grows cold and she can no longer please her husband, she addresses this issue by eliciting empathy from
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