William Blake: Marriage Of Heaven And Hell Poem Explanation
William Blake’s The Arguments stands in defiance to the conventional method of texts and calls out on the traditional means of writing and representing the world through literature. Being a strong believer, Blake characterized himself as a prophet to challenge realism and emphasizes on the artistic process of perception. According to Blake, what we truly are is imagination which manifests itself in art. Blake writes The Argument to challenge the realistic, traditional ideals fixated in the world to expose the idea that reality is not a reliable stage of actions, rather it is a restrictive system of representation. He deviates from the standard depiction of written works and writes The Marriage of Heaven and Hell with no single form. The work has a whole moves back and forth between being a prophetic theological manifesto, poetic songs, proverbs, commentary and a prothalamion. Throughout the entire work, he interweaves both verbal and visual works without any explicit distinction between them. He begins his work Marriage of Heaven and Hell through The Argument by adorning the persona “Rintrah” (Blake, 1790), to portray the righteous anger of a prophet. Although the reader is clueless given reading only The Argument, upon finishing the entire text, we comprehend how Blake uses Rintrah to draw apocalyptic imagery where the anger creates Rintrah’s wrath [(“shakes his…. deep” (Blake, 1790 )]. Wrath is a vital context in Blake’s theology since to him, wrath is triggered by the anger in seeing injustice. He moves on to paint an imagery of a landscape [ “roses are planted”, “river and a spring” (Blake, 1790)] however our attempt in picturing the entirety of it becomes futile since Blake is ambiguous in his description. This deliberate unorganized utilization of words to create formlessness is an intentional act by Blake to expound the idea that art is a form of creative energy that articulates not what things already are, but what things could be. In the whole text, Blake forces incompatible forms to sit together to see what the formal repercussions would be to propound the idea that if two things do not belong together in reality, does not necessarily mean they are meaningless in their juxtaposition. He uses his work as a self-commentary and a commentary on another work in order to challenge the fact how works of art should conform to the existing set if pre-conceived notions that fit in reality. When he says “Eternal Hell” (Blake 1790), he uses a paradox to embellish the union of the two oppositions. He further alludes to why contraries are vital when he says “Without contraries is no….to human existence’ (Blake, 1790).
He uses satire to make his text an imitation of a biblical prophecy but uses his own imaginative, revolutionary beliefs to contradict the moral views that already exist. The text revolves around the central theme of dualism where he claims good and evil, heaven and hell, angels and demons are all a single part of a symbiotic relationship. He extricates the authoritarian perception of Hell where he describes Hell to be not a place of punishment rather a source of creative energy and spiritual progression. He argues to the dominating view of how Good and Evil must be separated and uses religious symbolism to resolute against the arbitrary segregations induced by religious institutions. Blake forces the idea of how erratically classifying contraries becomes a barrier. By using a confusing textual form, Blake endorses the unpredictive nature of formlessness conducive to imaginative freedom. Blake writes The Argument in free verse by making it deranged from within to highlight the internal discord bought forth by the contraries being forged together. His work is an aesthetic experimentation that abolishes the constrains to an open world of creative freedom where there is no predictable limitations. The reader constantly moves between the text and the image since both are radically compressed into one and cannot be separated. Blake blends text and image together to make it a seamless form and revolutionised the typical representation of text on page itself. The fact there is no dominant medium focuses on how both work together to prolong our process of perception.
He uses The Argument as an argument against fundamental propositions of moral views and uses it to explain how the human energy thrives on running together of these contraries. His form of formlessness dwells on the significance of satire used to expose conventional folly by using a system of dynamic contraries. Blake uses personification when he says “serpents walk” and “burdened air” (Blake, 1790) to make the text more vivid and enhance the sensory experience for the readers. He uses alliteration “sneaking serpents” and “bleached bones” and repetition of “Rintrah roars…on the deep” (Blake, 1790) to give subtle traces of rhythm to the text. However, the entirety of text thrives on its’ formlessness. Every single addition to the text is made utterly different by Blake to make the structureless representation of the text seamless. His purpose to diverge from the consistent metrical formf writing and representation was to accentuate the idea of how literature as an art should advance by the process of doing rather than planning to fit in to pre-determined structure.
- Shklovsky, V. (1917). Art as Technique. [ebook] Available at: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/currentstudents/undergraduate/modules/fulllist/first/en122/lecturelist-2015-16-2/shklovsky.pdf [Accessed 19 Aug. 2019].
- Miller, Rosalind. S. Gertrude Stein: Form And Intelligibility. New York: The Exposition Press, 1949. Web. 19 Aug. 2019. Available at: https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.32106017812006&view=1up&seq=6
- Sitrin, Carly. ‘Making Sense: Decoding Gertrude Stein.’ 6 n. pag. Web. 19 Aug. 2019. Available at: https://www.bu.edu/writingprogram/journal/past-issues/issue-6/sitrin/
- BLAU, AMY. “The Artist in Word and Image in Gertrude Stein’s ‘Dix Portraits.’” Mosaic: An Interdisciplinary Critical Journal, vol. 36, no. 2, 2003, pp. 129–144. JSTOR,
- Blake, William. The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell. The University of Adelaide, 1790. Web. 20 Aug. 2019. Available at: https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/blake/william/marriage/complete.html
- Vassiliadis, Stefanos. ‘An Analysis Of William Blake´S ‘The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell’.’ (2006): n. pag. Web. 20 Aug. 2019. Available at: https://www.grin.com/document/142476
- ‘Close Reading Analysis | Marrying Heaven & Hell.’ Commons.marymount.edu. Web. 20 Aug. 2019.
- Available at: https://commons.marymount.edu/themarriageofheavenandhell/close-reading-analysis/
- Whittaker, Jason. The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell. Cornwall: Rintrah Books, 2010. Web. 20 Aug. 2019. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/611282/The_Marriage_of_Heaven_and_Hell