The Journey to the Underworld

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Hell, also known as the Underworld or the Land of the Dead, is a dangerous location of risk in any or much of its components. It is a place of torture and retribution. The three words should be used interchangeably at times. The symbolic sense of the phrases is a spot where most religions agree the ghosts of the deceased that were evil-doers are placed and punished for their deeds when they were alive. They are subjected to interminable agony, which is often thought to be the product of everlasting fire. The place is different from the normal world where normal humans live. It is a place that has no peace or any order as found in the normal world. Hell can as well have a metaphorical meaning as defined above to mean a place full of risks and dangers. This distant land of shadows or dark pit beneath the earth is usually imaged as a place where criminals are punished and not like in religion (literal meaning) where it is viewed as a place of decomposition and darkness. Hell is a unique symbol of a location of despair, alienation, and evil. There are several elements of a hell or in other words, things that make a place dangerous. One of the things that make a place dangerous is when there is repudiation for physical pleasure and comfort, for example, fresh air, a place to move, warmth, food, among many other deprivations (Smith 50). Another thing is the presence of ways of physical infliction of pain or discomfort, especially involving physiological damage. The other thing that makes a place dangerous is the existence of things and means of imposing psychological suffering. This paper will present utilize several works by various artists to show the hell or an evil place of pain.


William Blake’s poem, “The Tyger” creates the place of evil deeds and suffering and can undoubtedly be compared to other poems with thematic similarities like Allen Ginsberg’s “First Party at Ken Kesey’s with the Hell’s Angels.” Though the two works create the dangerous hellish place in different ways, they are similar in their thematic analysis. Ginsberg’s poem presents a party where he describes the setting and the range of characters who wander in the party. He used their appearance to categorize them, and as the party proceeds, he observes their actions. This party is a representation of a revolutionary era. The reader can quickly notice rebellion in contradiction of the typical America from the title itself. When the author uses Ken Kesey “counter-cultural” character trailed by “hell’s angels” known for their illicit lifestyles, he establishes a feeling of the 1960s through pop culture imagery and icon (Smith 45). This work is full of rock roll, drugs, and sex, which makes it recognizable. The people at the party are rebelling against the mentality of the rest of the Americans. Hell’s Angels was a motorcycle gang who could ride throughout the US during the time. The poem is a reflection of the author’s personality. He can talk about things that other people during the time could not. Those characters who roam at night represent the hippie and the liberal part of the youth during this period, and this was a significant revolution from 1950. Hell’s Angels are the bad boys in leather jackets. This was a place where all evil things were done, making the situation dangerous.

On the other hand, Tyger is a vastly symbolic poem where the speaker is perplexed seeing a tiger at night, and they start asking the Tiger questions. The tiger represents the aggressive force in the human soul. The parts of the powerful creation means of the creative artist are fire, furnace, hammer, chain, and anvil. The god creating the tiger can be interpreted as the creative agents who inspire humans to free their souls, hearts, and minds from the cuffs of common fallacies. The creator is very powerful, and the creation is fierce that it almost scared him (Blake 1). The forest symbolizes the tarnished social bonds and that attempts to overwhelm the real human capabilities. The night symbolizes ignorance from which the forest of corrupt institutions in the society is made. According to the interpretation of the symbols used in the poem, it is clear that a culture infected with such features is a dangerous place for anyone to be, making it a hell. This poem has a thematic similarity with Ginsberg’s poem in that they convey the theme of mysteriousness, that everything is not as it appears to be.

Short fiction-How Flannery O'Connor uses The Tyger to Present Hell

As seen above, the tiger represents the aggressive force in the human soul. ‘The Lame Shall Enter First,' one of Connor’s short stories, has some thematic similarity with “The Tyger” in that both of the works presents people who are ignorant. Rufus is an evil person who seeks to do good. However, he cannot differentiate between what is good to do and what is wrong to avoid. Sheppard later learns that this was the reason for his demise (O'Connor 350). Additionally, Sheppard is a liberal person who considers the people who worship God as irrational while he considers himself as rational and superior over them.

Individual Choice of Artist

My selection of artists is William Blake, and the work of art is “The Lamb” that has a close relationship with “The Tyger.” These two works of art have a thematic similarity. Both have a similar setting, though with different characters. The personas in both ask the animal questions. They have a theme of religion. The lamb was created by God where the child (persona) explains about the good gifts from God (Smith 100). As the poem ends the child tells the little lamb, “God bless thee.” When combined, the two ask an incredibly profound question. They both show that God made everything on the earth that is the good, represented by the lamb, and the evil (the tiger) (Damon 45). They both ask probably the world’s most unresolved question, how are the two, evil and good, able to exist in a natural world? The Lamb


The Tyger is a poem that employs a lot of symbolism. As explained above, the tiger, the forest and the night are all symbolic of bringing the point of a world of suffering into being. There are various other poems that have a thematic similarity with William Blake’s “The Tyger” such as Flannery O'Connor “The Lame Shall Enter First.” His collection “Songs of Innocence” is a beautiful one that as well includes “The Lamb” poem that employs the same structure as “The Tyger.” Both of them show that there is a possibility of the existence of the evil and the good in the same natural world.

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Works cited

Smith, Kenneth Edward. An Analysis of William Blake's Early Writings and Designs to 1790: Including Songs of Innocence. Edwin Mellen Press, 1999.

Blake, William. Tyger, Tyger. Penguin UK, 2016.

O'Connor, Flannery. "The Lame Shall Enter First." The Sewanee Review, Vol. 70, no. 3 (1962): pp. 337-379.

Damon, S. Foster. A Blake dictionary: the ideas and symbols of William Blake. UPNE, 2013. Print

August 18, 2021

Illness Christianity

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Evil Death Hell

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