What can you discern from Songs of Innocence and Experience about Blake’s views on religion?
In Songs of Innocence, Blake's religious convictions are clear and presented through
the all-pervading presence of divine love and sympathy.
Blake offers, through simply worded poetry, a release from self-absorption. The easy to read words allow for much deeper interpretation. Blake through his far-reaching and mystical words explores
the two contrary states of the human soul.
Children's innocence and unquestioning belief in God and goodness are apparent. The Lamb reveals the child's confidence and The Tyger is its contrast with no reassurance of goodness and even a suggestion that God is malevolent. A lamb is also representative of the ultimate sacrifice - as Jesus, the sacrificial lamb, dying to save mankind.
Use the eNotes study guides to get a better understanding of all Blake's works.
Blake had a dislike for the Church and its dogma but that did not detract from his spirituality and beliefs. He was considered a visionary, even though his work could sometimes be considered blasphemous. His self-expression, through his art, was also viewed with suspicion but he felt that the Church repressed people's 'real selves' and In The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.
referring to his belief that God is not necessarily a separate entity but is within us all.
Blake makes many references to the relief and saving quality of death. The Little Black Boy will be only be accepted after death.The Chimney Sweeper is about the young boys who cleaned the chimneys, certainly doomed to an early grave. Tom Dacre
has a dream in which an angel frees the sweepers from their “coffins of black,”
The Little Boy Lost and The Little Boy Found, in which God miraculously appears to a fatherless boy, reinforces Blake's beliefs.
in The Divine Image, Blake makes it clear that everyone is entitled to respect and love, no matter what their religion.
However, Songs of Experience reveal how a belief in an all caring God is, in Blake's view, naive. He talks about a
The contrast between Innocence and Experience is clear in the poems that show the distinction. A Divine Image contrasts sharply with The Divine Image pointing out that if cruelty, jealousy, terror, and secrecy are human 'qualities' then these 'qualities' must belong to God as man was made in his likeness.
Rather than being obsessed with sin and corruption and so on, Blake urges us to see the spirituality which will in itself bring relief.