Get here the summary, questions, answers, textbook solutions, extras, and pdf of chapter 10 “The Divine Image” of the Assam Board (AHSEC / SEBA) Class 11 (first year) Alternative English (Seasons) textbook. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.
Summary: William Blake’s “The Divine Image” is a poem from his collection Songs of Innocence. Throughout the poem, Blake paints a picture of his ideal world in which mercy, pity, peace, and love—the four traditional Christian virtues that reside in every human heart and represent God’s solace and strength—rule supreme.
‘And God said: Let us make man in our image,’ which is found in verse 26 of the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, is referenced as the poem’s title. The poet defines God or divinity for us in his poem “The Divine Image.” To understand God as Blake does, we must abandon the idea that God is a solid object and instead view God as the sum total of all virtues. Someone with godlike qualities is on par with the Almighty. The poet reminds us that we have the potential to reach the pinnacle of divinity and stand on equal footing with God. According to him, God does not live in the clouds but in each of our hearts. A person’s divine nature is activated when he or she reaches the highest potential within themselves and acts accordingly. It’s not enough that, in Blake’s view, man reflects God’s likeness; rather, man is God and God is man.
He claims that mercy resides in every person and that only those with large, generous hearts are able to show it. Cruelty, jealousy, terror, and secrecy are presented in “A Divine Image” as abstract ideas that have no reality apart from humans. Cruelty originates deep within the minds and hearts of people. Jealousy, terror, and the need for privacy are all products of human nature.
According to the poet, love has the power to elevate a human being to a divine level. Since God is Love, becoming Love for everyone else is the way to achieve union with God. Blake, in the very last line, declares that Peace is humanity’s garment. Keeping the peace is the virtue that keeps the world turning and keeps us all safe. When people pray in times of trouble, the poet says, they’re really praying for things like love, mercy, peace, and pity. The poet is also demonstrating that all people are similar in that they all want the same things. Love exists in all places and is accessible to people of all backgrounds. For this reason, the poet exhorts us to love everyone, for in doing so, we do the same for ourselves.
Since “The Divine Image” is a rhetorical poem, the poet has tried to persuade us that mercy, pity, peace, and love are all that are required to assume the divine form through his use of repetition. Throughout the poem, Blake explains how God possesses these four qualities and how He has instilled these traits in us as well. He also said that if we can cultivate these traits, we can make ourselves and the world better versions of ourselves. Without mercy, it is impossible for humans to get along with one another. Blake has also urged us to love all human forms equally because we are all created by the same soul. The poem’s final two stanzas focus primarily on love, and in love we find God.
In the poem, Christ’s role as a mediator between God and humanity is acted out through personification. The poem begins with intangible qualities and ultimately makes them the focus of human worship. In the second stanza, the author explains this paradoxical idea by equating God with virtues.
I. Answer these questions in one or two words.
1. When do people pray for mercy, pity, peace, and love?
Answer: In times of trouble, people turn to prayer for mercy, pity, peace, and love.
2. What do people return to the ‘virtues of delight’?
Answer: When people experience the “virtues of delight,” they express their gratitude in kind.
3. Who is God for us?
Answer: Mercy, pity, peace, and love are what we consider to be God.
4. Which of the virtues has a human face?
Answer: A human face can be seen in the virtue of pity.
5. Who is seen as God’s child and care?
Answer: It is believed that God’s child and care are mercy, pity, peace, and love.
II. Answer these questions in a few words.
1. What do people do in distress?
Answer: The poet asserts that prayers are offered to ideals such as mercy, pity, peace, and love. People pray to these immaterial characteristics rather than to any particular deity or human being when they are in distress.
2. What does the term “virtues of delight” refer to?
Answer: “virtues of delight” refer to the qualities of mercy, pity, peace, and love that bring comfort to those who are in distress. Four “virtues of delight” are represented by the personifications of mercy, pity, peace, and love. As the embodiment of “God, our father dear,” the speaker asserts that all people turn to them in times of trouble and express gratitude for their blessings.
3. Name the different human forms represented by “virtues of delight”?
Answer: Mercy stands for the human soul, pity for the human face, love for the divine-human form, and peace for the human garments.
4. What kind of man prays to the “human form divine”?
Answer: The poet sees love as the human form of the divine, and he claims that people in every climate pray to it in times of trouble.
5. Where does God dwell?
Answer: Where there is mercy, pity, peace, and love, there is God. According to Blake, God lives in those who have compassion, kindness, and love in their hearts. The poet maintains his focus on God’s presence wherever there is love, mercy, and pity. God blesses those who exhibit these traits, and He holds this kind of person in high esteem.
III. Answer these questions briefly.
1. What human form must all man love?
Answer: In the poem titled “The Divine Image,” Blake introduces the concept of God or “divinity” and argues that God is the source of all good qualities. By examining Blake’s theology, we can conclude that God is not a static entity like a rock but rather the sum total of all that is good in the world. If a man has the qualities of God, then he is God. The poet reminds us that we have the potential to reach the pinnacle of divinity and stand on equal footing with God. According to him, God does not live in the clouds but in each of our hearts. Godhood is achieved when one reaches the heights of his potential and puts into practice the divine qualities already present within him. The poet insists that all humans, irrespective of their ethnicity or faith, must appreciate the beauty of the human body. Thus, Blake is arguing that people of different races, cultures, and religions must still love one another. Peace, harmony, and happiness for all will result from the promotion of universal fraternity.
2. How do the qualities of mercy, pity, peace, and love embody both God and man?
Answer: Blake’s idea of God is at the heart of his poem “The Divine Image.” God, in Blake’s view, embodies all the best qualities of the divine, including mercy, pity, peace, and love. A human being with these godlike qualities is on par with the Almighty. In this poem, Blake hoped to convey the message that humankind has the potential to achieve divinity. Beginning with the words “mercy, pity, peace, and love,” the poet lists the four divine virtues. These are the attributes that, in Blake’s view, sum up the divine. To the poet’s knowledge, people only pray for these virtues when they are in extreme pain or distress. Humans also pray to these virtues as a way of showing appreciation to God for all of the good things in their lives. Continuing, the poet asserts that God, as the progenitor of all human beings, possesses the four divine virtues of mercy, pity, peace, and love. Since humans are God’s offspring, they also possess these divine qualities. The poet’s point in writing this poem is to argue that since humans share God’s four divine virtues, they must be divine themselves.
3. What is the significance of the expression ‘In Heathen, Turk, or Jew’?
Answer: Blake writes in “The Divine Image” that “all must love the human form; in heathen, Turk, or Jew.” This line expresses his belief that people of all backgrounds and cultures should be respected and valued. The reason for this is that every human being is significant because of their connection to divinity. The poem concludes with the lyrical voice saying that God resides wherever mercy, love, and pity are present. Because all human forms, regardless of appearance, strive for the same virtues, there is no difference between them. Being human is what really matters; it makes no difference if someone is a heathen, Turk, or Jew. Everyone, regardless of skin colour or genetic background, has access to love. Because loving others is the same as loving ourselves, the poet urges us to do the same. The poet continues to dwell on the importance of love, mercy, and pity, claiming that God can be found wherever these virtues are practised. God blesses those who embody these virtues, and He holds this kind of person in high regard.
IV. Answer these questions in detail.
1. Bring out the central idea of the poem “The Divine Image’ by William Blake.
Answer: The Divine Image, a poem by William Blake, contemplates the bond between God and humanity. For Blake, mercy, pity, peace, and love are all attributes of the highest divinity. Blake’s poem explores themes of divine love, human compassion, peaceful coexistence, and human equality. Blake’s poem inspires hope for a better world based on universal values of love and compassion. The speaker maintains that every living being reflects God’s goodness and is therefore sacred. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from, you are all divine. To some extent, everyone carries God within them simply by virtue of being human, as all of God’s attributes are also human. When people are “in their distress,” they “pray in the distress” of God and of their fellow humans. The speaker argues that if God exists in “human form,” then people will actively seek to embody and demonstrate God’s goodness. Goodness from God is innate in every person. The poet emphasises that God can be found in anyone, whether they identify as Christian or not.
2. How does the poem ‘The Divine Image’ by William Blake illustrate the biblical adage “God created man in his own image”?
Answer: William Blake’s “The Divine Image” is a personified meditation on Christ’s role as a mediator between God and humanity. The poem begins with a set of abstract qualities—mercy, pity, peace, and love—and makes them the focus of human worship. Allusions to God’s mercy, compassion, peace, and love seem to be emphasised throughout the poem, suggesting that these are more than just attributes of the divine being we refer to. The speaker continues by equating mercy, pity, peace, and love with man, arguing that these virtues find a kind of embodiment in humans and are thus easily identifiable due to their fundamental human characteristics. This means that the God we imagine has these perfect human traits. And when people pray, it doesn’t matter to whom they think they’re praying, where they are, or to what God they think they’re praying, they are really worshipping “the human form divine” or what is ideal or most godly in human beings.
Christ is not named in the poem, but the four virtues Blake ascribes to both man and God in turn are the same ones commonly associated with Jesus. For Blake, Christ’s dual nature as God and man makes him the ideal mediator between the divine and the human. The fact that he is represented by an abstraction rather than a human figure highlights the complex intellectualization of Christian teaching. Blake, for his part, is partial to making less of a distinction between human and divine. Thus, “The Human Abstract,” a companion poem in Songs of Experience, goes even further toward exposing the elaborate religious institutions as mental, deliberate misrepresentations that obscure rather than honour the real identity of God and man.
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