William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1794) was written at a time of turbulent period in English and American history when the United States was still in its infancy stage.
Songs of Innocence and of Experience show the two contrary states of the Human Soul (1789-94). The poems set the world of pastoral innocence and childhood against the world of adult corruption and repression; they contrast the meek virtue of “The Lamb” with the darker forces of energy in “The Tyger.”
Blake often employs rhetorical techniques such as personification and Biblical symbolism. Blake features a number of symbols in Songs of Innocence and of Experience which remind us of antiquarian literature particularly during Christ’s times. Chariots and Spears are poetical devices which had Biblical basis and so are his Satanic Mills. He featured the gloomy Victorian cotton mills into an ironic intimacy with Christ and the regenerated Jerusalem in his Songs.
These poems are related to folk traditions in a way because Blake often utilizes the traditional meters of ballads, nursery rhymes, and hymns in expressing his thoughts. The poems provided a vivid contrast on innocence and experience. The Lamb represents innocence which we also could relate to Jesus, the Lamb of God. Tyger represents experience that comes with age which Blake sets a contrasting sinister image to make the Lamb appear more holy.
Blake’s preoccupation with Good and Evil is the gist of the poems in Songs of Innocence and of Experience. The poet attempts to paint a clear picture on how the experiences of adult life corrupt and later destroy innocence. The poems reflect the ideals, lives and truth in the antiquarian movement and more so, today.