“The Chimney Sweeper” Compared to “The White Devil”

False hope 

Both of Blake’s poems “The Chimney Sweeper” in Innocence and Experience feature this idea of false hope. In the poem, the protagonist faces a harsh and repressed life and the reader is shocked to learn that he is only a child. Although cruelty is prominent in the poem, the child seems to have faith in his religion and believes: “if all do their duty, they need not fear harm”. This is an ironic statement defining the exploitation of the innocent at the time. Children were used as cheap labour during Blake’s life and he uses his authorial intervention to criticise their loss of innocence through this. The child hopes is he does as he is told, he will not be punished; however, his work in itself was detrimental as many workers died on roofs.

Similarly, “The White Devil” explores false hope through the character of Isabella. Isabella hopes for a happy and rewarding marriage with Bracciano, but this is destroyed by his adulterous relationship. Isabella is a devoted wife and hopes this will force Bracciano’s love; however, even Isabella herself knows that her hope is inaccurate as she describes her “woeful widow’d bed”. The alliteration used by Webster creates a mournful and depressing sound that epitomises Isabella’s relationship. The word “widow’d” foreshadows both her and Bracciano’s death and concludes there is no hope.

Death

The theme of death is a usual and casual occurrence in both “The Chimney Sweeper” and “The White Devil”. In “The Chimney Sweeper”, Blake describes the death of children during the time as a result of their long and strenuous labour. He uses the listing of names: “Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack” to describe the thousands of children that would have died. The fact that Blake incorporates very generic names allows death to become an ordinary and inevitable part of life. These names allow the reader to observe the detachment people experienced at the time because these boys are merely names and do not present life.

Death is also prominent in “The White Devil”. As part of the genre of revenge tragedy, a large majority of the persona dramatis die and death becomes a desensitised and conventional part of the play.  Bracciano plots to murder his wife and exclaims: “Excellent! Then she’s dead”. This shocks the audience because he should not be experiencing such relief at the death of his own wife. Bracciano is a figure of nobility in the play and this defines the corruption of the time.

Angels/Spirits

Angels are used throughout Blake’s poetry including “The Chimney Sweeper”. The angel in this poem liberates the children from their “coffins” with “a bright key”. The children subsequently experience a happy and restorative afterlife; however, Blake is emphasising that parents should protect their children while on earth. In order to sustain its well-being, the child begins to have visions and hallucinates in the cold weather. This idea may have been created from Blake’s own experience of seeing a tree full of angels while working through London.

In “The White Devil” when Bracciano dies, his ghost visits Flamineo and “shows him the skull”. Flamineo is haunted by his own hubris and Bracciano’s spirit reminds him of his fate. By showing him a “skull”, Bracciano is foreshadowing Flamineo’s death while  emphasising his own downfall. The idea of ghost haunting people for their mistakes is replicated in Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” when Scrooge is visited by three ghosts to remind him of his sins.

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Act 4 Scene 1 Questions

Find definition of “Machiavelli” and “intelligence”

“Machiavelli” – “characterised by expediency, deceit and cunning” came from Renaissance writer Niccoló Machiavelli to describe a character with little morality and who is driven by selfishness.

“Intelligence” – “acquiring skills or knowledge” or “the collection of information for military or political value”.

What are the categories of offence in the Cardinals’s black book. Why are they there?

  • Intelligencers
  • panders
  • pirates
  • politic bankrupts
  • murderers
  • lawyers
  • money lenders

These are all lists of immoral and corrupt people in society. The fact that Monticelso has this list in order to use when necessary defines his own corrupt nature. A priest naturally should only own a Bible, but Monticelso’s possession of such a dangerous book emphasises his lack of religious guidance. Webster uses this book in order to comment negatively on his society which the audience of the period would have recognised.

Find the rhyming couplets in this scene.

He that unjustly caus’d it first proceed/ Shall find it in his grave and in his seed” – Fransisco speaks wisely in this rhyming couplet and reveals that he does not want to seek revenge for Isabella’s death. The rhyming couplet provides him with heroic status and expresses that revenge is worthless and just causes more tragedy.

“Play with your nostrils, till the time be ripe / For th’ bloody audit, and the fatal gripe” – Monticelso is a stark contrast to Fransisco’s disinterest in vengeance. Monticelso should, as the Cardinal, be delivering sound and valuable advise and yet he stimulates the revenge and deaths at the end of the play. The rhyming couplets are relatively ironic in this scene.

“Treason, like spiders weaving nets for flies/ By her foul work is found, and in it dies” – Fransisco again contradicts Monticelso’s desire for scheming as he contrasts revenge to a spider who are related to the idea of deceit. The idea of “weaving nets for flies” shows there is no escape from revenge and it is an encyclical act.

“Your flax soon kindles, soon is out again, / But gold slow heats, and long will hot remain” 

In lines 1-76, find the references to animals.

Monticelso instructs Fransisco to “sleep with the lion” which as a conventionally the most dangerous animal in the wild, Monitcelso’s advise is seemingly treacherous and foolish. Monticelso wants to encourage Fransisco to seek revenge for Isabella’s death, but this is at the expense of his only morals, putting his own life at risk and his religious status.

Fransisco is also want to be “patient as a tortoise” which is typically a slow and calm animal. Monticelso understands that Fransisco needs to gain vengeance discreetly and cannot allow anyone to know it was his responsibility; therefore, making calculated and slow decisions will aid this.

Monticelso also notes that the revenge will not harm Fransisco’s reputation: “let this camel stalk o’er your back unbruis’d”. Monticelso firmly and naively believes revenge will not damage Fransisco morally and socially.

Identify the metaphors and similes.

Similes:

“I’ll stand, like a safe valley” – Fransisco knows where the most moral and logical place to be in this debate with Monticelso and using the term “valley” emphasises he is determined and his opinion will not be changed or moved. The irony that he eventually is convinced to commit murder portrays the great hypocrisy in the play.

“Like spiders, weaving nets for flies” – Fransisco highlights the corrupt nature of revenge as he compares this to “spiders” who are often compared to deceit and secrecy.

Metaphors:

“sleep with the lion”  – the “lion” in this sense is Brachiano who is dangerously a murderer, Monticelso wants Fransisco to be as corrupt as Brachiano and mirror his actions.

“The many names of devils” – Monitcelso describes his book as containing “devils” and this describes how highly corrupt Monticelso’s contacts are. Webster also reminds the audience of the title here to highly Monticelso’s hypocrisy and great contradictions.

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“The White Devil” Actors/Actresses Ideas

Vittoria – Angelina Jolie because during her role as in “Maleficent”, Jolie played a once powerful character who was turned evil by acts of betrayal which developed a negative reputation for her. Like Vittoria, she is independent, but extremely sinister which allows her to tempt Brachiano to not only divorce Isabella, but to also murder her. Maleficent is betrayed by Diaval, similarly to Flamineo’s deceit of Vittoria which turns her character towards qualities of cunning deception.

 Brachiano

Cornelia – Julie Andrews because throughout her latest roles in film, Andrews has developed into more mature characters and by doing this, she is able to portray great wisdom which Cornelia provides throughout “The White Devil” while conveying an innocent and Catholic response to the other more sinister characters such as Brachiano.

Isabella – Mia Farrow as her role of Daisy Buchanan in the 1974 version of “The Great Gatsby” developed a heartfelt reaction to her husband’s affair which Isabella also has to endure in the play. However, she also makes direct decisions about leaving Gatsby in order to salvage her own and her husband’s reputation which is similar to Isabella’s choice over her divorce to Brachiano which she willing take responsibility for. Daisy is also largely innocent, until her affair with Gatsby and extremely vulnerable much like Isabella in “The White Devil”.

Monticelso – Ben Kingsley for when he played Dr Cawley in “Shutter Island”. Dr Cawley was largely meant to take an authoritative, but pastoral role as the leading physiatrist at the hospital located on Shutter Island and this is comparable to Monitcelso, who as Pope is meant to be caring and responsible; however, Cawley is extremely manipulative and secretive in the film. Cawley schemes to keep the two police officers on the island and convinces Daniels he is the most dangerous patient and in this sense, Monticelso become highly involved with the deaths throughout the play.

Giovanni – Colin Firth during his time as King George VI in “The King’s Speech” because in the film, the King does not willingly accept his duties as a noble figure and instead feels under pressure from his major responsibilities. At the end of “The White Devil”, Giovanni is seen as a saving hope for the characters as he is able to restore harmony; however, this is a large challenge for him as he is extremely naïve much like Firth’s character and has to work to achieve status. The King in the film does eventually overcome his flaws and Giovanni learns from the previous generation to make positive change as the audience hopes.

Lodovico –

Camillo – James Whitworth due to his role playing Brooks Hatlen in “The Shawshank Redemption”. When Brooks serves his entire sentence in prison and is ready to be released, he attempts to murder Heywood to extend his sentence; this desperate nature is similar to what Camillo will do to secure Vittoria’s love again. When Brooks leaves prison he realises the outside world has moved on without him and the adaption of technology leaves him behind which is like the advancement of Vittoria because Camillo cannot compete with Brachiano for her. It is Brooks’ naivety and separation from the real world that causes his death, much like Camillo as the cuckold.

 

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“The White Devil” Act 3 Questions

Act 3 Scene 1

1) Based upon the speeches between Fransisco and Monticelso, what kind of trial will Vittoria receive?

Vittoria will receive an extremely harsh and biased trial as Monticelso already admits that they have: “naught but circumstances, to charge her”. As members of the Church, Monticelso and Fransisco would have had great power and almost a Divine Right to dictate the laws. This indicates that Vittoria’s trial is religiously destined to rule against her even though there is little evidence for her guilt.

2) Compare Flamineo and Marcello

Within Act 3 Scene 1, Flamineo and Marcello demonstrate extremely diverse emotions in response to Vittoria’s trial. Marcello is significantly emotional and passionate about the trial as it evokes feelings about his sister’s death as he cries: “my unfortunate sister!” In contrast, Flamineo is increasingly heartless as he tries to act nonchalant in order to attract attention away from his role in organising Vittoria’s affair. Flamineo comments: “A cardinal… will not catch conies.” Webster incorporates a metaphor here to include the animal imagery of a rabbit, but a “cony” can also be a woman which adds to the idea of women as objectified animals.

Furthermore Flamineo is very self centred in this scene which is apparent throughout the rest of the play too. Marcello however discourages selfishness and advises Flamineo to: “bear an honest heart”. Ironically, Flamineo continues to lie and scheme even though his sister is about to be found guilty of adultery.

Act 3 Scene 2

1) How does the audience respond to Vittoria by the end of the scene?

The audience is able to discover that Vittoria is a relatively intelligent woman as she is able to manipulate the court and criticise the lawyer by calling Latin a “strange tongue”. At the time, Latin would have been the language of the Bible before James I translated it into English and Vittoria evidently does not want to reminded of her religious associations as she pleads against her sins. She is demonstrating how often the corruption of religion in the play can shade judgement. The audience responds to Vittoria’s clever and systematic behaviour by realising that as a woman of the time she is still dismissed as being uneducated and insensible even though she can easily control the court room.

 

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“The White Devil” Act 1 Scene 1 – Act 2 Scene 1 Questions

Act 1 Scene 1

What initial impressions of Italian nobility are the audience given in this scene?

The audience can derive from Act 1 Scene 1 that the Italian nobility is extremely corrupt and as a result cannot be trusted. Lodovico claims Brachiano “seeks to prostitute the honour of Vittoria” even though Vittoria is married to Camillo. Brachiano is representing the rest of court as deceitful and immoral and the fact that Lodovico is observing their dishonesty despite his own criminal background of “certain murders here in Rome” emphasises not only the ultimate hypocrisy, but also how extreme the negative reputation of the Italian nobility is if it can be criticised by a heartless and violent criminal.

What appears to motivate Lodovico?

Lodovico is evidently motivated by internal anger perhaps aimed more towards Brachiano. Lodovico subsequently admits his interest in Vittoria and is angered by her adulterous relationship with Brachiano. Lodovico violently proposes to “I’ll make Italian cut-works in their guts”. This is extreme and violent imagery used to represent Lodovico’s treacherous personality that is motivated by Vittoria’s affair with Brachiano.

What function do Antonelli and Gasparo have in this scene?

In Act 1 Scene 1, Antonelli and Gasparo provide Lodovico with reasonable and logical explanations for his banishment. They remind him of his atrocious crimes and describe them as “bloody and full of horror”. The strong use of adjectives allows the audience to realise who Lodovico is and the danger his character will create throughout the play. Antonelli and Gasparo are used to demonstrate that even Lodovico’s loyal associates believe his sentence to be fair and just.

Antonelli and Gasparo’s other function during this scene is to portray themselves as loyal and devoted followers of Lodovico. Antonelli promises to “repeal your banishment” and therefore allow Lodovico to return. In this sense, Webster foreshadows that Lodovico will eventually return in the play. As the play is of the revenge tragedy genre, Lodovico arrives back in Italy as an act of catharsis to relieve the unnatural order taking place within the plot.

Make a list of the imagery used by Gasparo and Lodovico. How does this help to reveal the latter’s character and motivation?

  • “wolf”
  • “like mummia”
  • “bloody and full of horror”
  • “Italian cutworks in their guts”

The imagery used by Gasparo and Lodovico in Act 1 Scene 1 reveals Lodovico’s character is extremely dangerous and often can be violent. His motivation is clearly to cause physical harm to the people who have betrayed him as much of the imagery used is vicious and vivid.

Act 1 Scene 2

Vittoria’s entrance is accompanied by a blaze of light. What is the likely effect of this on the audience? Why is the lack of light for line 9 onwards significant?

Vittoria’s blaze of light ultimately emphasises her power in the play. Although Vittoria is a woman, therefore at the time was considered weak and uneducated, she is quite the opposite and holds much power over the male characters. Her promiscuous nature liberates her and gives her strength over the other characters.

Furthermore, the blaze of light incorporates the title of “The White Devil”. Vittoria can be interpreted as the “white devil” because she highly contradicts her nobility through her immoral acts. The oxymoron provides the imagery of both purity and the devil who was responsible for tempting human kind to turn from God. This is a reflection of the two sides of Vittoria; the pure and celibate nature of her relationship with Camillo and her methods of tempting Brachiano away from Isabella.

The lack of light from line 9 onwards highlights a change in tone as a private conversation subsequently takes place between Flamineo and Brachiano. The light fades as all false pretences evaporate and the real personalities are revealed. Darkness always follow light and this is apparent in the play as Flamineo’s scheming begins as the light exits and he admits “we can now talk freely”. The dramatic irony of this conversation builds up tension and the audience appears to recognise that Camillo is in great danger as a result of his own insecurities.

How does the structure of Flamineo’s speech change at line 17? What is the effect?

At line 17, Flamineo begins to speak in prose and considerably longer lines of: “’Bove merit! we may now talk freely: ’bove merit! what is ’t you doubt? her coyness!” Flamineo almost appears bored at the process of scheming and the work that is required to interfere with his sister’s life. His long paragraphs demonstrate he has planned this deceit for a while in an almost rehearsed manner. Although Flamineo is of authority being Brachiano’s secretary, he conveys his lack of nobility and traits of the common man through his immoral and prosaic language.

What is the effect of bringing on a rug and cushions (immediately before Cornelia’s entrance)? What might it highlight about the relationship of Vittoria and Brachiano?

By allowing Zanche to bring a rug and cushions on stage, Webster is portraying the sexual relationship of Brachiano and Vittoria. The audience would be able to immediately assume the extent of their relationship from these physical symbols without the other characters having to mention their adultery. Cornelia enters immediately after which contrasts her moral standards compared to Brachiano and Vittoria.

Look at Vittoria’s explanation of her dream (line 230) where she tells Brachiano a fable. Who do you think she is referring to when she says “that well-grown yew” and “a withered blackthorn”?

Yew trees are often found in church yards, much like in Vittoria’s dream, and are usually associated with death. In her fable, Vittoria could be referring to “that well-grown yew” as Camillo. The term “well-grown” only highlights Camillo’s age and the fact that the tree is usually known as a symbol of sadness provides the idea that Camillo is depressing Vittoria’s life. However, later on the in the play Monticelso claims Lodovico to be a “black and melancholic yew tree” as Lodovico has previously to this scene brought about several deaths and continue to by the end of “The White Devil”.

In terms of “a withered blackthorn”, Vittoria could be describing Brachiano. Vittoria dreamed that her “intent was to root up that well-grown yew” which, as already stated earlier, is Camillo who is subsequently replaced with Brachiano. The fact that he is a “black thorn” explains Brachiano’s destructive nature of Vittoria’s previous marriage and is a contrast to the term “white” used within the title of the play.

What imagery does Cornelia use when she confronts the lovers? How does it indicate her disapproval?

Cornelia includes the imagery of “Judas-like” to eventually confront Brachiano and Vittoria in Act 1 Scene 2. Judas is well known in the Bible to be the disciple who betrayed Jesus. In this way, Vittoria was once Camillo’s disciple and she has now deceived him using a kiss, much like Judas who identified Jesus in this way. This indicates her disapproval as by highlighting the Bible and Biblical figures, Cornelia is reminding them both of their religious teachings, even though the Church is highly corrupt too in the play.

What does Cornelia have to say about the moral responsibilities of men in positions of power?

Cornelia largely believes that men in positions of power should set examples of morals as their responsibility. Cornelia portrays this through: “the lives of princes should like dials move, whose regular example is so strong, they make the times by them go right or wrong.” Webster uses a heroic couplet to indicate the importance of Cornelia’s statement and how she is the Christian viewpoint in the play. In this way, Cornelia recognises that powerful men should guide their people of lower status into ethical methods of living.

What attitude to women is expressed by Flamineo in this scene? Find three quotation which you think illustrate his view.

Flamineo is notably disrespectful to women and this is epitomised in the fact that he even treats his sister as an object. This is illustrated through: “lock up your wife” which is demonstrating Flamineo’s belief of male dominance over women. If Flamineo were moral, he would want a fulfilling and happy relationship for his sister rather than a patriarchal one.

Furthermore Flamineo is extremely misogynistic. He greatly distrusts women and is sceptical towards their motivations. Flamineo states that women: “know our desire is increased by a difficult of enjoying”. In this way, he views women negatively and believes they are deceitful for their own personal gain.

Additionally, Flamineo also ultimately dismisses the opinions of women in the play. In Act 1 Scene 2, Flamineo argues against Vittoria’s defence for herself with “Shall a gentleman so well descended as Camillo”. Although in his asides, Flamineo is critical and insulting towards Camillo, his direct speech is respectful and considerate. In comparison, Vittoria is ignored or her viewpoint is debated and ultimately concluded as incorrect.

What have we seen Flamineo do in this scene? What does his speech at the end (in response to Cornelia’s question “What? Because we are poor…”) tell us about his motivation and morality?

When Cornelia criticises the potent people in society, Flamineo’s motivation becomes clear and that is to become rich and dominant. He is hateful towards his mother Cornelia and society for returning “not a suit the richer” and evidently values wealth within his morality. He fully blames his deceitful nature upon his social status and in this way portrays himself as a typical malcontent of the play.

Act 2 Scene 1

Francisco and Monticelso are introduced in this scene. What are their full titles and what can they be seen to represent?

As Francisco and Monticelso enter the scene, Webster uses their full title of Francisco de Medicis and Cardinal Monticelso. This is because the director is fully aware that Webster wants the audience to be reminder that they both belong to religious institutions. This is to represent how corrupt the Christian church is in the play and how the title “The White Devil” is easily apparent.

Look at Monticelso’s speech beginning “It is a wonder to your noble friends”. How does it echo the sentiments expressed by Cornelia in the previous scene?

Monticelso evidently echoes the sentiments expressed by Cornelia as he begins discussing wealth and fortune in his speech. Monitcelso claims that money is never enough for greedy people as: “neglect your awful throne for the soft down of an insatiate bed”. Webster incorporates a metaphor of royalty to demonstrate that human nature is never satisfied and always has to take more. As an associate of the Church, Monticelso is teaching the Christian doctrine against gluttony and self-indulgence which Lodovico is also similarly criticised for in Act 1 Scene 1.

Identify images related to poisoning in the scene

  • “spiders” – considered poisonous
  • “Adder’s tail” – animal
  • “hemlock” – poisonous plant
  • “toad” – image for Doctor Julius

Look again at the scene from “No my dear lord, you shall have present witness” up to Isabella’s exit? Why does Isabella publicly reject Brachiano? How might an audience interpret her brother’s response to her behaviour?

Isabella publicly rejects Brachiano with: “I will make myself the author of your cursed vow” in order to save Brachiano’s overall reputation. Isabella clearly still loves Brachiano to preserve him in this way, but most likely recognises that her Catholic marriage vows are now dispersed. By taking blame for their divorce, Isabella conceals Brachiano’s immoral behaviour and therefore his power as a duke. He can continue to reign with his power which further adds to the theme of hypocrisy prolific throughout the play.

Francisco’s response to this is many rhetorical questions of “are you foolish?” and lists insults of “foolish, mad and jealous woman”. The audience can interpret this as an extremely insensitive manner from Francisco who does not consider his own sister’s emotions at the time. Fransisco recognises that without Brachiano, Isabella will be worthless as a women of the time were not valued for their individuality. She is sacrificing her wealth, status and security for Brachiano’s unforgiveable act; however, this Francisco can simply not understand.

What dramatic purpose do you think Giovanni has in this scene? Why might the audience view Francisco and Monticelso differently by the end of the scene?

Giovanni is largely a physical reputation of Brachiano and Isabella’s marriage. Although Brachiano develops hatred towards Isabella and claims: “I’ll never lie with thee”, their child does represent that their once was a strong love for each other consummated in a child. Giovanni allows the play to become even more of a tragedy as Brachiano has discarded his family for Vittoria.

By the end of this scene, Francisco’s and Monticelso’s true personalities have been revealed and the audience’s perception of them immediately changes. At the beginning of Act 2 Scene 1, Monticelso and Francisco give reasonable conclusion that give them characteristics of moral beings, similarly to Cornelia in the previous scene. However, their plotting and scheming is soon discovered by the audience who realise the corruption within the Church. They both spread the news of Vittoria’s and Brachiano’s relationship to Camillo and falsely send him to fight Lodovico or “pirates”. Their ill advice means that they can allow the affair to continue until there is evidence to condemn both Vittoria and Brachiano. The audience learns of their deceitful and calculating behaviour.

 

 

 

 

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Literary Works 1600s

 

John Webster’s “The White Devil” was published in 1612 during the Renaissance period. The Renaissance saw a focus on man’s time on earth rather than a religious emphasis and many authors began to write about the theme of love in many different forms. Sonnets began to become a more popular form of expression due to the work of William Shakespeare and drama concentrated on royalty whilst breaking into separate categories of history, comedy and tragedy.

The Renaissance brought about several playwrights. Perhaps the most renowned of the period would be William Shakespeare who in the same year produced “The Two Noble Kinsmen”. Shakespeare later produced “Henry VIII” and “Macbeth” a year earlier than Webster. Shakespeare and Webster both wrote tragedies that feature a rebellious and unhappy character of Hamlet and Bosola in “The Duchess of Malfi”.

Thomas Middleton was another prolific writer of the period and even co-wrote the play “Anything for a Quiet Life” with Webster. Middleton wrote of money, power and God; themes often explored by Webster. In his play, “The Witch”, Sebastian returns from war to find his future wife, Isabella, is now engaged to Antonio. The Duchess declares vengeance for her father’s death and seduces Almachildes in order for her to threaten him into killing the Duke. Almachildes commits murder and now must die himself. The subplot describes a wife being killed by her husband for supposed adultery and later her husband dies too. The characters are offered a deal by the witches which means their desires will come true; however, the witches are taken over by nature and lose their charms. Isabella is comparable to Vittoria in “The White Devil” who also commits adultery and manipulates the other characters to achieve her goals. The majority of the characters die in both plays, as conventional of tragedies.

 

 

 

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“Nurse’s Song”

Form

Blake forms four stanzas in his poem “Nurse’s Song”, which makes it considerably longer than that seen in his previous work. The poem takes up a “ABCB” rhyme to reflect that an adult is speaking and is therefore far more complicated and complex than the children in the typical “AABB” rhymes.

Language

Blake uses personification when discussing nature as “all the hills echoed.” By allowing the hills to imitate the happy sounds of the children playing, Blake is demonstrating the restoring properties of nature who enjoys childish games and innocent fun. In the poem, nature is therefore comparable to humanity and they are companions. This opposes the “Songs of Experience” collection as man is damaging within nature and is separate force.

In order to portray the excitement and eternal joy of children, Blake incorporates listing. In the poem, the children “leaped, and shouted, and laughed.” These continuous emotions make their actions seem involuntary as if they cannot control their happiness. This is a natural reaction of childhood and shows the carefree atmosphere in the poem. This however, is non-existent in the collection of the “Songs of Experience” poems as adulthood divides humanity from elation.

Purpose

The fact that the children are able to play “till the light fades” indicates the lack of limitations during childhood and the fun that can be experienced. Blake wants to allow the reader to realise the destruction of growing up. The children are also playing outside amongst “the little birds” and the “sheep” portraying the close relationship with nature which appears to be in Blake’s view as the correct way to live.

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