The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, William Blake (1790-93)
William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, showcases “lighthearted activities” and “ominous surroundings” (C3) and allows insight into the subtle, yet definite, relationship between Heaven and Hell. Blake focuses on a natural point of view and depicts images of humans dancing, flying, and embracing around bare trees. Below this scene, a large fire is raging and ascending towards the people resting at the top. Two people lay intertwined beside the fire. They appear to have no gender, but it symbolizes the marriage of a devil and an angel.
This portrait connects to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by showcasing how Victor Frankenstein attempted to bring this perfect creation to life, only to discover that it is “devilish” (pg.8-9) Blake writes in lines 3-5 of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, “Once meek, and in a perilous path, / The just man kept his course along / The vale of death.” (pg. 159) This shows how Victor became so intertwined with death that he kept walking along its path in order to make his monster. It also happens to connect through the marriage of a devil and an angel. It represents what a father/son relationship could have been for Victor and his monster. However, Victor rejects his creation and tries to hide it away from the world. Nevertheless, they are connected eternally, much like Heaven and Hell.
Blake, William. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. The Norton Anthology of British Literature: The Romantic Period. 10th ed. Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor. W. W. Norton, 2018. C3.
Blake, William. Excerpt from “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.” The Norton Anthology of British Literature: The Romantic Period. 10th ed. Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor. W. W. Norton, 2018. p. 159.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 1818, 1831. Introduction by Karen Karbiener. Barnes and Noble, 2003.