Symbolism In Poetry

Yaroslav Levchenko  aptly remarks: "Religious Symbolism in William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence and of Experience” is quite remarkable. The poetry as well as the whole art of William Blake is abundant with symbols and allegories that carry a strong charge – inspirational, charismatic and religious".

Symbolism in poetry developed out of the Dada activities of World War I, and the most important center of the symbolist poets was Paris. Even before the modern age, the visionary poet Blake used symbols in his poetry. For example, in his lyric "The Lamb", we find that the lamb is a symbol of Christ:

Little Lamb I'll

tell thee,
Little Lamb I'll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek & he is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child & thou a lamb,
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb God bless thee.
Little Lamb God bless thee.

The lamb is an apt symbol for the Prince of Peace Jesus.

The poet uses another symbol in the above lines. Jesus is like "a little child". Jesus is simple, humble, innocent and sinless like a child. William Blake himself remarked: " A symbol is the only possible expression of some invisible essence."

From the 1920s on, the use of symbols spread around the globe, eventually affecting the visual arts, literature, film and music of many countries and languages. Physical-psychic experience, the dreams and trances hidden in our subconscious state of mind- this alone is truth that can be discovered only through symbols. The contemporary poets like W. B. Yeats, T.S Eliot,  W. H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, Ted Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Paul Eluard, Lorca, Hart Crane were influenced by symbolism to a great extent.


Article Written By peter09

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Last updated on 25-07-2016 186 0

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