Songs of Good and Evil

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Simple, limited, and unadventurous all describe William Blake’s life (Greenblatt, Abrams, Lynch, Stillinger). Blake was born November 28, 1757 in London, England and his artistic ability became evident in his early years. Blake had a very simple upbringing and had little education. His formal education was in art and at the age of fourteen he entered an apprenticeship with a well-known engraver who taught Blake his skills in engraving. In Blake’s free time, he began reading writing poetry. At the age of twenty-one, Blake completed his seven-year apprenticeship and began to work on projects for book and print publishers. He also attended the Royal Academy of Art’s Schools of design, where he began unveiling his own personal works…show more content…
Blake wanted to show that there are two sides to every situation by writing companion pieces for most of his works. “The Chimney Sweeper”, for example, has the same title in Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, as well as “Holy Thursday” that appears in both. “The Lamb” and “The Tyger” are also paired poems contrasting the concept of good and evil that Blake focused on through out his poems. “The Lamb” in Songs of Innocence, and “The Tyger” in Songs of Experience were written with biblical influence, and Blake demonstrates his biblical upbringing through out these poems. “The Lamb” is represented through a pastoral story line, allowing a connection with agriculture and nature, much like many stories in the Bible. “The Tyger’s” storyline, however introduces the question of theodicy, or why there is evil in the world. How can God make a lamb so innocent and pure, and in turn create something so evil and cruel? Throughout “The Tyger”, Blake asks hypothetical questions, “When the stars threw down their spears And water’d heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee? (“The Tyger” 17-20). Blake wanted people to read this poem and understand his concept of questioning God, for how could God make something so innocent and pure as the Lamb and then in turn make something so evil? The situation is very similar to the
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