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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Comparison between songs of Innocence and songs of Experience by William Blake


Comparison between  songs of Innocence and songs of Experience by William Blake

 Innocence and Experience are two contrary states of the human soul or of the life. The state of innocence is the state of childhood, of simplicity, of undisturbed joy, of purity and virtue unclouded by the vices, while the Experience is a state of vile ad vices, of divisions and dissensions, of defilement and decadence, of corruption and treachery, of cruelty and tyranny.


The poems in the two groups show the emotional tensions between these two contrary states. In the Songs of Innocence, Blake expresses the happiness and innocence of a child’s life, whereas the poems in the Songs of Experience record the wounds and cruelties of the civilized world.

 In the introduction to Songs of Innocence it is the piper who wants to sing the songs of innocence and happiness to make everyone happy. But in the introduction to Songs of experience, the speaker is the Bard whose note is that of caution and warry. The pipers point of view is prevailingly happy; he is conscious of the child’s essential divinity and assured of his present protection. But into that joyous context the elements of experience constantly insinuate themselves so that the note of sorrow is never completely absent from the piper’s pipe. In experience, on the other hand, the Bards voice is solemn and more deeply resonant, for the high-pitched joy of innocence is now only a memory. Bothe the piper and the Bard are singers, but the piper uses mild and gentle numbers and the Bard more terrific tones.

The nurse in Songs of Experience is a poignant contrast to the nurse in Songs of innocence. The nurse is the section of innocence is very careful. It is her duty to take the children home and protect them from the inclosing darkness. But she gladly allows the children to play more until they are tired, satisfied and till the sun sets. The nurse in the section of Experience, on the contrary, thinks that the children waste precious hour in playing. She keeps a constant watch over the children and chides them. Thus, she offers a sharp contrast to the nurse of the section of Innocence.

The contrast between the lamb and the tiger is vivid and striking. These two animals are the two contrary qualities of human soul. To the mind in the state of Innocence, the lamb appeared to be a fit symbol of life—mild, innocent and beautiful; and two the mind, which has experienced the disappointments, sorrows and injustice of life, the tiger appeared to be a fit symbol of restless, strong remorseless and beautiful. The lamb symbolizes the soft aspects of life, while tiger symbolizes energy and vigour. The milky fleece, after all, is another contrast to the sturdy sinews and the fiery stripes of the tiger. The beauty of the lamb is mild, whereas the tiger has a terrific beauty. Because of the sharp contrast the poet wonders whether the same God has created both these contrasting qualities of human life.

The Human Abstract offers a contrast to The Divine Image in Songs of Innocence. Both pomes deal with the four virtues-mercy, pity, love and peace-but with the idea of two differing point of view. In the section of Innocence these four qualities raise a man to the level of God, but in the section of Experience, the man uses them to hide his evil motives.

Thus, Blake felt that innocence and experience are coexistent in the human life. What Blake says I Songs of Innocence and of Experience is that life has to be looked at as a whole. Only if one can recognize the existence of the harsher aspects, one can overcome them and reach a higher innocence. So, Innocence and Experience are complementary.

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