The Poems of William Blake

The Fall of Man in Pastoral Paradises College

The motif of the fall of man is quite often used in poems and prose alike. More specifically, William Blake uses the motif of the fall of man in his poem The Book of Thel as well as in his poem The Shepherd. Blake, in this case, uses this motif in some of his poems to incite different feelings through allusions to Adam and Eve. The Book of Thel presents to us a world very close to Adam and Eve’s, a pastoral paradise in which man and nature are bonded in a form of mystical unity. Thel is able to speak to the nature around her, and gain knowledge of the world, much like Eve gained knowledge after eating the forbidden fruit. This world, although seemingly perfect, traps Thel and is a catalyst for her limitation of herself. Much like The Book of Thel, The Shepherd presents a pastoral paradise as well, in which there is a Shepherd (an allusion to God) watching over his sheep (God’s people). Creating a contrast with Thel's situation, though, Blake presents this world as one in which the sheep, or people, are given free choice and independence because of their knowledge of God watching over them, an effect of the fall of man. In using this motif of the fall of man, Blake both critiques the way in which people limit themselves based on...

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