The Lamb | Notes on Symbolism


Use of symbolism in Blake's 'The Lamb':

'The Lamb' belongs to Blake's 'Songs of Innocence'. 'The Lamb' suggests the Lamb of God. The Lamb is a meek and gentle creature. It symbolizes Christ, the incarnation of love and tenderness. The child and the lamb are the symbols of Christ and Christ represents purity or innocence, the second characteristic of this world. In this poem, the identification between the child and the lamb and of both with Christ is complete. Again, the child and the lamb enjoy a certain security. There is hardly a poem in which a symbol of protection, a guardian figure of soe kind, does ont occur. 'The Lamb' is a pasoral poem and the pastoral note in Blake is nother symbol of innocence and joy. The poem is simple but bears a deep meaning of life of joy and perfection joy and happiness, purity and perfection, innocence and gentleness which are the basis of the theme of the poem and form an ideal life which is the main point of this poem. The language of the poem is very simple, the diction is very ordinary and the style is lucid. The two-line rhyme of the poem contributes to the musical quality of the poem. 

A child is supposed to be speaking to the lamb, identified with Christ. The child wants to know from the lamb as to who has created it, endows it with life and the ability to graze by the river and decorates it with delightful clothing of the fleece that grows on its body, it is blessed with a soft voice indicating the gentle nature. Its gentle voice permeates the valley with joy. The child then gives the answer to his question that the maker or creator of the lamb is himself called a 'lamb' that is identified with Christ. Christ is known as a Lamb. Christ is meek, mild and gentle like both the child and the lamb. Christ praised children for their innocence. Both the child and the Lamb are symbolic of Christ who represents purity, perfection and innocence and is an incarnation of love and tenderness.

The Songs of Innocence expresses for the first time in English literature the spontaneous happiness of childhood. Blake captures child mind. He does not merely write about childish happiness, he becomes the happy child. He is universal and expresses the nature delight in the life of every man. The central theme of the poem is innocence, purity, simplicity, meekness, etc. which are the divine qualities which, if acquired by one, make one's life glorious. A child is identified with God or Christ because he possesses innocence and purity. The Lamb symbolizes Christ as it is a meek, gentle and mild animal. A deep religious feeling pulses through the poem.