roselie87 (roselie87) wrote,
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Literature Entry WEEK NINE: Plate 9 "Visions of the Daughters of Albion"


I was taken aback by plate seven that compliments the text "tell me where dwell the thoughts forgotten till thou call them forth...then Oothoon waited silent all the day, and all the night".

 

It is a ghastly looking image with a soft heart, if that juxtaposition makes any sense. The left hand surroundings are cold and sterile created through the dark ashen hues and the shadows that are cast in the background. Perhaps they are symbolic of the rocky cave that the three opposing characters have been enclosed in but there is a brilliant burning light that totally engulfs the right hand side of the image. With knowledge of the how visual images work, we know that the left hand side of an image is termed the given, meaning what is shown is symbolic of the situation that the characters feel they are part of right here, right now. It says something about the characters states of mind and also the circumstances which have put them there. So with that in mind - the left side of the image reflects the dejection Oothoon feels in relation to her unresponsive lover and the betrayal Theotormon found within himself through his disappointment.

 

If we then move our eyes over to the right hand brilliant side of the image - the new - we are confronted with perhaps what is to come in the future or in Oothoon's case, the insight that she is trying to convey to her helpless and hopeless lover. It is interesting to examine where the light is positioned in the image because it speaks loudly to the kind of person Theotormon is. Crouched and contracted low in the foreground of the image, Theotormon has his back to the light. Just as Plato's cave theory suggests - we humans tend to live in the shadowy darkness, with our backs facing the ideal light, the new insight, the imagination, the beauty in life. In this case, the image constructs Theotormon as a man closed off from inspiration and the world, a man who would rather wallow in his sorrow than see the wonderful, powerful and strong woman that is begging him to love her - stupid coward! If Theotormon (and all humans) open "the doors of perception" and cleansed their inner being, "everything would appear to man as infinite" - Blake's motive in life I would think.

 

I would say then that Oothoon, the twisted woman with her hands clenched as if in prayer that peers down upon her lover with wide open eyes of hope and sadness simultaneously, hangs above Theotormon in a wave. She waits "silent all the day, and all the night" waiting for Theotormon to change but when she realises that her lover is too engrossed in his needless lamentations, she begins to curse Urizen, the creator, for making man so vulnerable and unchangeable.

 

Her nudity as compared to Theotormon's clothing, perhaps is indicative of her raw expressions and because she is perhaps more pure than any other character in the poem due to not only her actions, but also the amazing spiritual and intellectual insight Oothoon has about the world and life. Her nudity may also loosely link to the fact that Blake and his wife would regularly lay in their front garden nude to feel attuned with nature and because there is a load of Blake within Oothoon's thoughts - her appearance may be somewhat Blakean too.

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