William Blake Poetry: British Analysis
William Blake’s focus is primarily on inner states; the drama of the later books has been called a psychomachia, a drama of the divided psyche. In Blake’s world, humankind was once integrated but suffered a Fall when reason sought to dominate the other faculties. The disequilibrium of the psyche, its reduced perception, is the creator of the natural world as it is now known.
The notion of “contraries” as defined and developed in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell provides a dialectical basis for the regeneration of this psyche. Contraries are to be understood as psychic or mental opposites that exist in a regenerated state, a redeemed paradisiacal state of unlimited energy and unbounded perception. Blake has in his total work depicted the progress to regeneration based on a conflict between contraries. Once contraries are accepted, energy is created, progress is inevitable, and reintegration occurs.
Blake’s paradisiacal man differs from fallen man only in that he is aware of his divinity. Paradisiacal man perceives the majesty of the imagination, the passions, the reason, and the senses. The imagination in the redeemed state is called Urthona, and after the Fall, Los. Urthona represents that fourfold, unbounded vision that is the normal attribute of the redeemed man. Such vision is not bound by the particulars it produces through contraction, nor is it bound by the unity it perceives when...
(The entire section is 7325 words.)
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