Sick Rose by William Blake Term Paper

Total Length: 1072 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 1

Page 1 of 4

In another context, the woman is blissfully unaware that her lover has been found out, and finally, the husband or "wronged" man must tell her he knows, and their love is over. The plot is actually quite simple, but Blake's eloquent use of words makes the actual telling much more complex and interesting.

The rose, unaware its' love is perverted; takes joy in the sensual pleasures of love, which Blake seems to be saying is unnatural and unhealthy. He writes, "thy bed of crimson joy: / and his dark secret love / Does thy life destroy" (Blake). The rose lives in a blissful bed of joy, unaware that sensual love is still a societal evil. Blake indicates that the rose should feel guilty for this "perversion" of love, and does not, which makes the rose even guiltier in his eyes. What began as a simple poem about a dying rose has taken on much deeper implications about society's view of love and pleasure. Roses give pleasure to the eyes by their beauty and to the nose by their scent, but it is not acceptable for the rose to take pleasure, too. Thus, Blake has revealed the double standard that has plagued men and women for all time. Men ("worms") can take pleasure, but women cannot. Thus, the rose also represents all women who secretly, or not so secretly, take sensual pleasure from their relationships. This "dark secret love" is destroying the rose's relationships, but it is also destroying the rose itself, until it dies, leaving its flowerbed fully infected by the "invisible worm" (Blake).
It is interesting that Blake uses the flower to represent the woman, and the worm the man, not only for the symbolism, but also for the underlying visual references. The man is ugly and evil, but perseveres, while the rose is beautiful but fragile and cannot survive. It is this image of fragile womanhood that helps contribute to the feeling that women are not to receive pleasure from their relationships, and helps add to the double standard so obvious in this poem.

The words of this poem indicated just how powerful just a few lines can be. Blake has managed to pack incredible meaning and symbolism into this poem's eight lines. The central image initially seems to be of a dying rose, but picking apart the poem indicates there is much more to the core of the poem than a simple flower. Style, poetic elements, and a great understanding of poetic method come together to fill these lines with stark images that break men and women down into black and white, right and wrong.

In conclusion, this short poem indicates how important literary elements can be to add depth, meaning, and symbolism to a poem. The poem is dramatic, and touches the reader even though it is short and seemingly simple on the surface. Blake's work shows that a poem does not need to be long and rambling to create a sense of purpose and deep meaning. It is eloquent and utterly readable at the same time.


Blake, William. "The Sick Rose." 2004. 29 Sept.….....

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