Songs of Innocence and of Experience

William Blake's Innocence and Experience: The Creator, the Lamb and the Tyger

William Blake presents two contrasting views of life in his Songs of Innocence and Experience: the innocent and idyllic world of childhood is set against the dark and ominous world of adulthood. Several of the poems in this collection can be read as pairs, each representing one end of the spectrum of either innocence or experience. The usefulness of looking at the pair poems is the observation of the same phenomena by opposing world views. This black and white view, however, is more complex than it seems. The world of innocence may seem naive and too trusting in its optimistic and positive manner; it seems to turn a blind eye to the evils of the world. At the same time, the world of experience or the “bad” world seems a little too cynical and in its own way does not present the complete reality of existence. However, together they form a balance between the light and dark forces of the world and present a picture of reality that acknowledges both forces. It is important to note that the poet himself does not concur wholly with either worldview, but is as objective as possible about each.

One pair of poems that can be so compared are The Tyger and The Lamb, representing experience and innocence respectively. In both poems, the...

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