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This poem is about life. The question this poem poses is "What is Life?" In order to find the answer, according to Blake, one must consider Nature and Thought. The poem itself is filled with emotion and leaves the reader thinking at the end as to what the poem is about, a true romantic fragment. Also, this poem was in Blake's "Songs of Experience," therefore, it was written out of an adult viewpoint.
In order to answer the question posed by the author, one must turn to nature to find the answer. "Am not I thee? Or art not thou a man like me?"(p.36) In this quote lies the point and question of the poem. By relating himself to a fly and a fly to him, he asks "What are we?" If we are no better or worse then the fly then we are equal to the fly. If that is the case then life is terrible for a fly is a small and meager creature. Blake is suggested that we are so useless and so petty that we are like flies. This view upon humans is one of disgust and is very depressing for the reader.
Blake also says that men are similar to the fly due to their position in life. "For I dance And drink and sing, Till some blind hand Shall brush my wing." Man is just as vulnerable as a fly, being a man can be killed at any time in his life just like a fly can be killed any time in his life. Also, "The Hand of God" can strike down a man the same a fly is struck down by the hand of man. This view by Blake is quite depressing.
One can be carefree about their life, yet thinking is the most essential part of man. "If thought is life And strength and breath, And the want Of thought is death;" By having thought shows that we have life. Blake is saying that we must have thoughts and be able to think in order to survive and have a healthy and fruitful life. Once one wants thought then that person lacks thought. Therefore, the person who is lacking in thought is dead because the most vital thing which makes that person stay alive and stay human is not present. This quote also demonstrates the lack of care of the author if he lives or dies. Since he feels so poorly of man, he could careless if he thinks or does not for he feels there is no point in life.
Even if one can think and is able to have thoughts there is no purpose in living a useless life anyway. "Then am I A happy fly, If I live, Or if I die"(p. 37). By simply being able to think and have his own thoughts, Blake feels his life is fulfilled, yet he is so disgusted with the world in which he lives in that he feels there is no purpose for an independent thinker to live in a world so wrong and corrupt.
The poem itself is structured in a set rhyming scheme: ABCB. This rhyming scheme causes the reader to put accent on the last words of lines two and four of each stanza. Due to this rhyme scheme the poem's tone is a sad and depressing one. For example, in stanza four the last word "death" is said with an accent giving it more emphasis over the other words. Same in stanza five the word "die" is said with an accent giving the same sad effect.
This poem was taken from "Songs of Experience." During this phase Blake's writing was written from an adult viewpoint. This viewpoint was quite sad and depressing because Blake felt that once a man grew up he realized that reality was terrible and was not a good place to be living in. In contrast to "Songs of Experience" Blake wrote the "Songs of Innocence." "Infant Joy," for example, is one poem which is written from the viewpoint of a child. "Pretty joy! Sweet joy but two days old, Sweet joy I call thee; Thou dost smile, I sing the while-Sweet joy befall thee." This poem is very light and
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Songs of Innocence and of Experience, English poetry, Literature, Poetry, The Fly, William Blake, Ode: Intimations of Immortality
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