William Blake, T.S. Eliot, Wilfred Owen and Sylvia Path are poets who use poetry as an effective medium of communication. Each of these poets presents to the reader their own view of human nature. Blake and Eliot are social critics whose poems focus primarily on humanity and life. On the other hand, Plath and Owen can be deemed a Confessional poet, who uses language to explore their own universe where life bears constant struggles. All three poets utilise poetic licence in order to convey to the reader that human nature remains the same regardless of time and place.
William Blake and T.S. Eliot focus their poetry on the human experience. Blake’s contrast of good and evil is seen in his poem The Divine Image and The Human Abstract. T.S. Eliot similarly uses contrast in his poem Preludes when he visualises a desolate and bleak setting against the “lighting of the lamps”. This is an indication for hope, despite the darkness. InThe Divine Image, Blake makes reference to the virtues held by the human existence, in particular mercy, pity, peace and love. He personifies these virtues, giving them qualities reflective of the innocence of the human condition. These are suggestive of the loss of faith in humanity that Blake and Eliot express. While Blake uses the personification of mercy, pity, peace and love to personify cruelty and deceit, Elliot makes reference to human nature and how it is devoid of any spiritual or meaningful connection. The Divine Image is a poem of the qualities humans should ideally possess, whereas The Human Abstract is an account of the true nature of humans. Through the metaphorical description that deceit is a fruit that grows from a tree, Blake symbolises humanity’s tendency to lie and expresses how lies are contrives from the human mind. In comparison, Eliot’s The Hollow Men expresses the negative effects of industrialisation and modernisation of the human condition. Blake usesThe Human Abstract to symbolise his loss of hope in the human condition, through expressing the idea that man cannot live without virtues and sins while Eliot similarly shows how the industrialisation of the human nature dislocates the world throughout time.
The feeling of hopelessness of the desertion of a modern, mechanical desolate world is explored through the application of techniques by both William Blake and T.S. Eliot. T.S. Eliot’s poetry is dream-like, and his surrealist imagery is often difficult to comprehend. Eliot opposes industrialisation and his mechanical imagery indicates this. In the same way, Blake also comments on the natural environment and the industrial revolution, and in turn comments on the idea of innocence and corruption. Eliot’s Preludes evoke all the senses through the depiction of an urban landscape against a continuum. The stanzas are all set within differing periods of day and night, which is suggestive of progression of time. In The Tiger, Blake employs dark and mechanical imagery that contrasts against Eliot’s obscure imagery and juxtaposition of incongruous images that stands to oppose conventional perceptions of what reality seems to be. Eliot makes a reference to humanity, and progresses from realism to surrealism. The tiger can be symbolic of the human condition, being a representative of God’s wrath. Eliot shows that through the break-up of time and sequences, he is effective in expressing an idea of a fragmented world where everything is dislocated, including relationships. The final stanza expresses Eliot’s final dismissal of the universe, that the world is doomed. The fact that the world ends “not with a bang but a whimper” suggests that man’s fear of the world will continue until the day he dies. Eliot and Blake both express the hopelessness and desertion of a modern, mechanical desolate world.
Contrary to Blake and Eliot’s social poetry, Slyvia