6/30/2019

"Songs of Experience" by Willam Blake as a social criticism.




William Blake was a poet with a revolutionary zest. In Songs of Experience he records the experience of the practical world which displeases and hurts him. The poems of this group reveal his serious thinking over the facts of social life. In this poems Blake
appears as a critic of the age and of contemporary social condition.

"Introduction of Songs of Experience"
In Introduction to the Songs of Experience Blake becomes a critic of the contemporary age. The speaker of the poem is a bard who is omniscient. He is a seer, a visionary and a prophet who can see the present, past and future. The Bard analyses the present conditions and probes beneath the surface of things, and exposes evil and wickedness. He calls upon Earth and fallen humanity to raise themselves and embark upon a new golden age.

"The Chimney Sweeper"
The Chimney Sweeper shows a realistic picture of society. In the
poem, Blake attacks the callousness of parents towards their children. The parents of the chimney sweeper are selfish and determined to enjoy the best of both words-in this world and the world to come. They compelled their child to become a chimney sweeper in order to earn money on which they want to live happily. They get material benefit from their child and go to church to pray in order to get the benefit of the next world. They cannot realise the injury done to their child. Thus society is responsible for such wickedness. Blake in the poem points out that God, His Priest and King make up a heaven of misery for the chimney sweeper. Blake here severely criticises the contemporary society.

"London"
London is a poem of social criticism. It depicts sordid and ugly condition of life. It presents a vivid critical picture of 18th century London. In the poem Blake attacks three great social evils-the callousness or cruelty of the society, the adversity of war and lust.
The chimney sweeper, the soldier and the harlot are Blake's types of
the oppressed characteristic victims. They all are victims of social injustice. The church gets shock from the miseries of the chimney sweeper but it is unable to do anything for the chimney sweeper. There is the soldier who sheds his blood in obedience to his king. Blake also records in the poem the tragedy of loveless/ unhappy marriage which compels men to go to prostitutes and beget illegitimate children. The children begotten illegally will have no future . The harlotry may also spread venereal diseases like AIDS.
Nothing can be more realistic than this picture of London and nothing can show the poet's resentment more effectively.

"The Human Abstract"  
Blake attacks the conventional artificial religion in The Human Abstract. According to the experienced speaker of the poem, the Christian virtues are founded on great evils in the world of Experience. Men pretend to be humble in order to trap their preys.
From this base nature of pretending humility originates a tree of mystery which bears deceit as its fruit. This fruit is red and attractive and sweet to eat. It looks very tempting. On this evil tree of false mystery ravenous bishops and archbishops set their nests and live lively deriving profit by exploiting others. Priests, arch-bishops and popes are appointed to promote the new school of thought. But in the world of Experience, they are the parasites of the artificial religion who are in league with the cruel men and together they exploit the weak for their own good. Thus Blake attacks the traditional religion codified by human beings themselves.

Thus the poems in the Songs of Experience give us a repulsive picture of human nature and English society. In these poems, Blake is critical of all those persons who use their authority to suppress natural impulses.

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