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Comparison of Tintern Abbey and Songs of Innocence and Experience

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Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience and Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey both exhibit similarities as they relate to the context of children and the idea of evolution with time with which occurs a transformation from innocence to maturity through experience. Joseph Duemer (1992, 102), in his chapter, identifies that both Blake and Wordsworth’s writings were inspired by a sense of Neo-Platonism as they endeavor to lift children to mythical characters through rather epistemic implications in response to Plato’s famous Allegory of the Cave. Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience was intended for an audience of children as well as adults although it is focused more on the inherent innocence present within children. The Songs present poems with contrasting theme of “outrage”, “complaint”, and “gladness” (Glen 1983, 165). Similar to the development of a child through time, Wordsworth captures the development of youth’s emotions and adulthood’s esoteric thoughtfulness (Furr, 1997). In the poem, Wordsworth reminisces about his visit to the Tintern Abbey next to River Wye about five years ago. But what is significant is not the experience but the development through the course of time. Both Blake and Wordsworth present a development of the human being through time although the two poetries also having contrasting differences such as form and versification. This paper will attempt to highlight the visible and the underlying similarities and differences in the two poems, Tintern Abbey and Songs of Innocence and Experience.
Various poems including The Lamb (6), The Little Black Boy (7), The Chimney Sweeper (10), and others in Blake’s Songs of Innocence talk about birth, childhood, and early years’ experiences (2008). Yet as Blake speaks about childhood with a certain symbolism, his poems reflect a criticism of modern concepts of morality as children characterize innocence and understanding of divinity in its purest form.