William Blake’s Utopian Desire Essay
The utopian desire of these poems is experience and what experience is. The poem I will be referring to is The Human Abstract. I firmly believe that experience is something you gain, and something you never lose. Experience, to me, means one that has been through something. It gives you knowledge about that particular event. In the poem The Human Abstract, Blake states “Pity would be no more, if we did not make people poor” (Lines 1-2).
Which says to me, that in a utopian society, everyone would be equal therefor there would be no need to pity because pity would not exist. “And mercy no more could be, if all were as happy as we;” (Lines 3-4). I take this as it is saying that if no one was poor and everyone was happy because they are not poor, there will be no mercy or disagreements within the society. I believe that this stanza is true but the problem with this belief is, without societal class then society would no work.
You have to have a lower class to have an upper class. By this I mean, if everyone was a “white collar” worker, then who would do the common man’s work? If there was no one to farm, make tools, or teach then society could not eat, do their work correctly or even have the knowledge to do that work. Also, in the same poem, stanza two says “And mutual fear brings peace, till the selfish loves increase;” (Lines 5-6). I believe that this is saying that since people harmonize together, selfishness can override the “mutual fear. “Then Cruelty knits a snare, and spreads his baits with care. ” (Lines 7-8). This means that cruelty is what can happen if desires and fear do not see eye to eye and when cruelty become relevant, the poem is saying that it sets a trap and lures you into it. Cruelty waits it out until the perfect time to affect you. To me this relates to this first paragraph in the sense that for those that are greedy and inconsiderate (the wealthy) or the ones who are too lazy and careless (the poor), Cruelty sits and waits for the perfect time to attack.
I mean that in a stereotypical way because I know that not all wealthy people are greedy and inconsiderate and not all poor people are lazy and careless. In the third stanza, Blake says, “He sits down with holy fears, And waters the ground with tears;” (Lines 9-10). This to me is personification for cruelty taking life like qualities and the cruelty figure plants a seed and waters it with the tears of humanity. . Line 22, talks about a tree, giving me the assumption that the seed that was planted by cruelty, was some sort of tree and from a religious stand point the tree represents the tree of knowledge. Then humility takes its root underneath his foot. ” (Lines 11-12), metaphorically means, to me, that humility lies under cruelty’s foot. Basically saying that when society is cruel, it bring humility to others, which is considered a sin in God’s eyes. In the next stanza of The Human Abstract, the first two lines say “Soon spread the dismal shade of Mystery over his head;” (Lines 13-14), which I believe is a representation of mystery being the canopy of the tree of sin that Cruelty planted with humilities tears.
In other words, society is cruel to others in society which is what causes humility. That sin then grows and grows until it is big enough that the “shade” of mystery covers society. To me it sounds like an event of chronological order but is also sounds to be preventable. In Blake’s utopia, he wants there to be no sin, no cruelty, no mystery, and no humility. That in his mind would go along with his utopian idea of a perfect society. One that was sinless and no one would be hurt or humiliated.
Next, the stanza says “And it bears the fruit of Deceit, Ruddy and sweet to eat; And the Raven his nest is made, In its thickest shade. ” (Stanza 4). This is metaphorically saying that this so called tree, has fruit on it and that is very tempting to eat, I believe that is a religious aspect referring to the Adam and Eve story in the bible. The fruit represents the sin and where it describes it as being “ruddy and sweet” is saying that it is a seductive thing. By this it means that, humans are bound to sin, there’s no way around that concept.
Almost everything can be classified as a sin. The raven is religious representation of death and the afterlife, and is metaphorically saying that sinners with not have immortality. Since this “fruit” is so desired by us humans, then everyone will commit sin and therefore be damned in hell for all eternity. To me Blake is trying to say that in his perfect society, there will be no tree that bears the fruit of sin and since there will be no tree, there will be no humility, and since there will be no humility, there will be no cruelty, and no cruelty with promise no poor.
All will be equal in this perfect society. Next we have the sixth and final stanza of the poem. The stanza starts off by saying “The Gods of earth and sea, Sought thro’ Nature to find this Tree,” (Lines 21-22). By this he is portraying this as saying that the Gods humans believe in are looking to find the tree in nature. The Gods want to destroy this tree but in lines 23 and 24, the poem states “But their search was all in vain: There grows one in the Human Brain. Which means that the Gods were unsuccessful in finding this tree, this tree does not exist in nature. It exists only in the human brain. This an example of what Blake wants in his perfect society. He wants there to be no tree of sin and none of the other things that are not good for society. To wrap it up, Blake’s perfect world will consist of humans who are all equal in wealth. This will abolish all possibility of being poor and causing pity. He takes this from a social aspect and mixes it with a religious aspect.