During the Romantic period, writers discarded what were known to be traditional views and focused solely on aspects like freedom and creativity. One permissive writer of this time is William Blake, and he portrays romanticism throughout his work by presenting symbolism, love for nature, and emotions.
Symbolism is vital to Romanticism and plays one of the dominant roles in Blake’s poetry. In Blake’s poem The Chimney Sweeper, a adolescent boy by the name of Tom experiences a perilous and dreadful life that a child should not have. Blake portrays symbolism in the lines “And by came an Angel who had a bright key, /And he opened the coffins & set them all free;”; once Tom was sleep, he dreamed of an angel that appeared and set him and all the workers free from their hardships. In the following line, “Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing they run, / And wash in a river and shine in the Sun”, the freed workers are happy and they “wash in a river” which symbolizes them cleaning themselves of corruption and the soot that stained their skin. Another symbolism that Blake uses is “naked & white” which symbolizes the purity and innocence of children.
Another characteristic that is clearly evident in his poetry is the love for nature. In Blake’s poem The Sick Rose, he proves to us how delicate nature can be. In The Sick Rose, the rose was not sick although the first line decries it to be: “O Rose thou art sick.” The rose becomes “sick” once the “worm” comes while there is a “howling storm” which indicates violent destruction with the force of nature. In the last two lines of the poem, “And his dark secret love/Does thy life destroy.” indicate that the “dark love” that the worm had was not really love but lust, that led to the demise of the flower.
Similarly, to the previous characteristics mentioned, emotions and feelings are frequently emphasized in Romantic literature and Blake’s poetry. One of Blake’s poem that portrays emotion is The Tyger. In the poem, lines such as “When the stars threw down their spears/And water’d heaven with their tears:”, clearly demonstrate some type of emotion such as fear, doubt, and angriness. In addition to that, the poem consists of many questions repeatedly with the feeling that the tiger is contemplating its existence and is in agony.
In conclusion, the characteristics of Romanticism include symbolism, the love for nature, and emotions. Blake was a talented and significant figure of this time who did well on portraying the characteristics throughout his poetry.