The symbols of Blake of Poetry


Question. Discuss the symbols of Blake’s Poetry. Or, discuss The symbols of Blake of Poetry.


William Blake (1757-1827) is the senior poet of the Romantics. He was at the same time a painter and poet. He is famous and acclaimed basically for symbols and mysticism. There is hardly a poem in Blake’s collection of poetry “Songs of Innocence and of Experience” which does not possess any symbolic significance.

Symbols of Blake’s poetry

The symbol refers to the targeted meaning of the words which express deep meaning instead of surface meaning. According to the Oxford Dictionary, “symbol is a thing that represents or stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract.” The symbols of “Songs of Innocence” are particularly Biblical which are dependent on the “Songs of Experience.” Symbols of Blake’s poetry are illustrated here poem wise.

The Tyger

The Tyger is a classic poem in its abundant use of symbols and images. The images here have special strength and freedom. The tiger represents the cruel and mastery side of God. The powerful beast symbolizes a fearful symmetry which is symbolically pervasive evil in the world and also manifested as a manifestation of perfect power and beauty.

The forest of night represents ignorance, repression, and superstition. To some, the forest is the symbol of the world of experience where many sterile errors conceal the path of truth and dim the light. The fire is the symbol of wrath. To Spenser wrath is a fire. Milton wrote of flames as the sign of wrath awakened. In the poem, fire is found in lines one, six, and eight.

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

What the hand, dare seize the fire?

The Lamb

A deep religious feeling pulsates through the poem “The Lamb.” The lamb, the child, and Christ are identified in the poem as the symbol of innocence which bears the qualities of meekness, gentleness, and mildness. Christ is called a lamb owing to his meekness and gentleness. The harmlessness of the lamb and the purity of the child’s heart are the manifestation of Jesus Christ’s innocence.

He is called by thy name,

For he calls himself a Lamb:

He is meek & he is mild,

He became a little child:

Thus, the recurring symbol of the poem has made it mystic though the diction is simple but somewhat obscure.

The Chimney Sweeper

Angels are traditionally innocent and have a protective influence. In this poem, the angels are innocent but in the later poems of Blake, they play a treacherous role. Chimney sweepers are certainly the symbolic expression of child labor.


“London” is the poem in which Blake has illustrated contemporary industrial England through symbols and images. Oppression and tyranny are exposed by the king who is responsible for the death of the soldiers. Blackening the church is the symbol of the religious disorder. The phrase ‘mind-forged manacles’ symbolizes the insecurity of society. Prostitution is the symbol of the destruction of proper familial life and holy marital institution. Because of such an abominable situation of the society, the poet notices the shadow of weakness and woe in the faces of the Londoners instead of pleasure and joy.

In every cry of every Man,

In every Infants cry of fear,

In every voice: in every ban,

The mind-forg’d manacles I hear

Other poems

“Nurse’s Song” is another symbolic poem of “Songs of innocence and of Experience” in which we get the symbolic expression of joy and politeness and somber and full of forbidding. The title of the poem “A Poison Tree” symbolizes aggressive feelings which certainly destroys the personal relationship. The poem “The Little Vagabond” symbolizes the tyranny of religion. Thus, almost all of the poems of Blake are Symbolic.


Now we can assert that Blake’s symbols are energetic beyond good and evil. He is really outstanding and remains a supreme example of symbolic art in all poetry through his symbols are somewhat obscure and ‘a hard nut to crack’.

Biswazit Kumar
Biswazit Kumar
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