Figure 8: Essay Excerpt on “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” William Blake

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Sample Excerpt

In contrast, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” supports a different viewpoint.  Blake “accepts the terminology of standard Christian morality, but reverses its values” (53).  For example, “the conventional Good is associated with the Soul and consists of the contrary qualities of reason, restraint, passivity and prohibition; the conventional Evil is associated with the Body and its desires and consists of energy, abundance, act and freedom” (Blake 53).  Blake points out:

That Man has two existing principles:  a Body & a Soul . . .     Energy, called Evil, is alone from the body and that Reason, called Good, is alone from the soul . . . Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five senses . . . Energy is the only life . . . Reason is the bound or outward circumference of Energy . . . Energy is Eternal Delight. . . . (56)

Reason and Desire, which are contraries, are shown as necessary to human existence.  Blake contends that without contrariness, there is no progression; “Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy (Desire), Love and Hate, are necessary . . .” (55).

Figure 8: Essay Excerpt on “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell,” William Blake


1) How can “conventional good” consist of contrary qualities?

2) How can something “consist” and be “contrary” at the same time?

3) What is the purpose of the quote?

4) How do the “elements” within the quote relate to what you have just said before it?

5) Second Bolded Sentence: What relation do all (i.e., attraction, repulsion, reason, energy, love, and hate) have to Blake’s position in “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell?”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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