The author’s conception of hell differs significantly from descriptions proffered by writers such as Dante. It is vital to note, that Blake does not depict it as a place of retribution. Instead, he believes it is the source of creativity, personal spiritual growth, and candid human expression. In the illustrated version, the poet depicts angels as perfectionists whose primary objective is to deny individuals the opportunity to achieve their full potential while demons offer liberation from the rigidity of religious doctrine. Blake criticizes religious entities that arbitrarily emphasize opposites such as good and evil. He notes that “without contraries is no progression” and that these differences are “necessary to human existence” (Blake 248). Blake’s ideas are strongly opposed to the modulated and autocratic perception of heaven. Blake proposes metaphysical arguments that highlight the senselessness of religion, education, and social existence among people whose senses are limited to the material world.
Blake, William. The Poetical Works of William Blake. Edited by John Sampson, Oxford University Press, 1906.