When your eyes first gaze upon The Marriage of Heaven and Hell title page those words pop out at you. You could never believe two polar opposites could ever marry. Hell the place where all evil goes in the afterlife and heaven the place where all good goes too. It would in our eyes be considered morally wrong for such a thing to occur. We see our perspective of the situation portrayed in the background as we see many angels look on in horror at the sexy, genderless, devil and an angel who embrace signifying a union. More angels seem to run away from this marriage that seems very immoral. Morality is the main topic depicted in this image and poem. William Blake after reflecting creates his own views on heaven and hell. He creates an idea of what good and bad morals are. Good morals are not based on being really good but rather “a “marriage” or union of the contraries, of desire and restraint, energy and reason..(158)”. This is very much reflected in Shelley’s Frankenstein.
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, there is a question that is always apparent is it moral to bring back the dead. The moment Victor Frankenstein awakens the monster he feels immediate regret, “How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I have endeavored to form (Shelley 51). This is very much like the reaction the angels have in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell the look away in horror at the immoral union much like Frankenstein does at his unliving living monstrosity. Throughout the rest of the novel, Frankenstein continues to question himself on whether or not it was moral. We see that his decision to create the monster very much reflects the morals Blake discusses. How Frankenstein had all the desire to create life, yet did not have the restraint to take the time and do it correctly. How he used all his energy up but did not have a valid reason to. He morally made a bad decision according to Blake.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 1818, 1831. Introduction and Notes by Karen Karbiener. Barnes and Noble, 2003.
William, Blake. “Plate 1. Copy D, of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”. The Norton Anthology of British Literature: The Romantic Age. 10th ed. Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor. W. W. Norton, 2017. C3
William, Blake. “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”. The Norton Anthology of British Literature: The Romantic Age. 10th ed. Stephen Greenblatt, General Editor. W. W. Norton, 2017. p. 385.