This week we’ve talked a lot in class about the possible influence of Moravianism on Blake’s work.   In order to determine what kind of influence Moravianism had on Blake, I think it’s very important to look closely at the context of certain scenes in his work.  Specifically, I want to look at the “Memorable Fancy” scene in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.  After the angel shows the narrator a firey, infinite abyss (hell), the narrator takes the angel to the narrator’s version of hell.  The narrator says to the angel, “Now we have seen my eternal lot, shall I shew you yours?”  The narrator takes the angel through a mill and into a church, where they descend into the “deep pit” of an open bible.  These context details are key – mills and churches are representative of two social institutions that Blake is very critical of.  This “deep pit” that the narrator is taking the angel to is framed by the mill, the church, and the bible.  The deep pit is a sort of physical manifestation of the negative effects of these social institutions.  As we discussed, the contents of this deep pit are fairly horrifying – monkeys and baboons coupling and devouring each other in most gruesome ways.  Even though the monkeys are violent, their actions are described in an intensely sensual manner.  This sensuality brings us back to Moravianism.   Although this scene could perhaps be read as a celebration of Moravian values or sensuality, I think it is actually a criticism of the church.  The exaggerated sexuality and gross violence mocks the teachings of the Moravian church.  Once again, context is key – why is the narrator in the pit in the first place?

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