Poets And Poetry

Poetry Analysis Essay Reviewthe Sick Rose by William Blake

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This poetry analysis of "The Sick Rose" poem by William Blake  mainly presents a review of the themes and imagery presented by the poet. A good poetry critique or essay should start with a free and open look at the title to see what clues the poet offers the reader about his message. Clearly,William Blake is going to address themes of perfection and imperfection, life and death or growth and decay in this poem.

Firstly, Blake addresses the rose as a person. The effect of apostrophizing the rose is to add impetus and drive to the speaker's tone, creating a mood of alarm from the very beginning. We are in no doubt that something is wrong and that something sad and worrying has happened. Blake could be talking about a real rose here, or using a metaphor for his society, which he may perceive as being damaged. In "Songs Of Innocence" Blake's themes are more gentle and positive.

Next, the poet presents us with imagery of ugliness and threat, as he describes an "invisible worm" all the more menacing as we, and the rose, are defenceless against it - flying as it does "in the night." This image is evocative of the darkness of the Hell with which the religious society of Blake's time would have been familiar. It also reminds us of representations of evil such as the snake in the story of Adam and Eve, or Satan in Milton's "Paradise Lost." Blake uses it as a metaphor for disease - a thing which can start to damage purity and lead to rot and decay. This could apply to society and the way in which degeneration of values and civilization leads to slow destruction.

The poem ends with a juxtaposition of romantic and destructive images - the first a "crimson bed of joy" and the second a life destroyed. Readers are left with the idea that something of value and purity has been successfully tracked down, threatened, infected and then destroyed.

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