Thursday, January 6, 2011

Reading Response #3 "An Interpretation of Blake's, 'A Divine Image.'"

Stephen A. Larrabee’s, “An Interpretation of Blake’s, ‘A Divine Image,’” shares his thoughts on the meaning of the poem. Larrabee separates the second stanza of “A Divine Image” and analysis each line. Larrabee believes that the first line meant, when man becomes involved with secrecy it disrupts the peace and causes war. He considered that the second line meant, man no longer creates love but plans ways of torture which creates terror. Larrabee suggests that the third line meant that the fear of others and change created jealousy, which sealed over the emotions of the human face. Only pity could destroy jealousy and unseal the emotions of the face, but man lacks pity. Larrabee reveals that the final line of the poem states that the human heart conceals cruelty, and that it can be portrayed through actions, thoughts, and deeds throughout the body. Larrabee believes “A Divine Image” has a direct contrast with Blake’s earlier poem, “The Divine Image,” by which “A Divine Image” shows the Satanist characteristics of humans rather than the divine or true characteristics. He shares how Blake’s, “Songs of Innocence and Experience,” connects the two poems by “A Divine Image” being experience, and “The Divine Image” being innocence. In the poem, “A Divine Image,” Larrabee suggests that the meaning of this poem meant that humans became influenced of the God Urizen or Reason. Being under this influence Larrabee proposes that humans build off of experience. In contrast Larrabee declares that in “The Divine Image” the moral of the poem meant humans stand created by the image of God and that innocence within man shapes man itself. Larrabee discusses how Blake believed that humans should develop characterization by Mercy, Pity, Love, and Peace, rather than Secrecy, Jealousy, Terror, and Cruelty when he states, “The ideals of ‘The Divine Image,’ he is convinced, shall ultimately overthrow the wordly reason of ‘A Divine Image’ (Larrabee 307, 308). Larabee explains Blake’s philosophy on his poetry in the sense that Blake wants humans to realize where reason has brought man so man can become the divine image.
William Blake’s poem, “A Divine Image,” described the human form as cruel and it seemed to mean the opposite of divine. The word divine relates to a God, so why would Blake title the poem, “A Divine Image,” if it did not mean that? “A Divine Image” showed four human characteristics that became influenced by experience. These four characteristics include Secrecy, Jealousy, Terror, and Cruelty. Blake tries to convey that humans have become Satanist by expressing these sins. The companion poem, “The Divine Image,” could compare to “A Divine Image,” because they both share a similar message. “The Divine Image,” consists of five stanzas rather than that of “A Divine Image,” which contains two stanzas that makes it have a larger significance to the meaning of the two poems. “The Divine Image” talks about the four virtues of delight: Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love. These four virtues exist in God, but they also originate in man himself. Mercy is found in the heart, Pity in the face, Peace in the clothes, and Love as the human body. Thoughts, emotions, and actions that the human body creates show these four virtues. Larrabee discuses these same beliefs in his article as well. Blake describes these four virtues in both human and man to show that humans create God. Much like Larrabee, I believe that Blake expected that “The Divine Image” would overrule “A Divine Image” so humans would remain affected by the thoughts of innocence rather than experience. Blake placed “A Divine Image” in “Songs of Experience” to show where experience has brought mankind. He uses unpleasant language in this poem to make humans feel immoral and change the ways of reasoning and experience because God wants the human mind to stay innocent. Blake shows how an innocent mind reflects God within humans by creating the poem, “The Divine Image.” When observing the two titles one starts with the word, “A,” in comparison to the other title that starts with the word, “The.” “A Divine Image,” meant how man portrayed themselves as experienced, while “The Divine Image,” meant what the Divine Image should be, which would be God. Each poem has two opposite meanings but connects by the detail that Blake expressed that humans remain the Divine Image that they create themselves.

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