The Angel - Synopsis and commentary

Synopsis of The Angel

The Angel

The speaker seeks to interpret a dream in which she is a maiden queen guarded by an angel (or lover?). As if aware of the danger of her vulnerability, the speaker was determined not to be deceived by the male presence and used feminine distress to occupy the angel in wiping away her tears. However, this concealed her actual delight in the angel's attentions. Aware only of the queen's distress, the angel / lover fled.

When day dawned, the virgin queen confronted her fear and developed numerous means of protection. Although her angel / lover returned, she was impregnable to his advances and by now too old.

This poem returns to a consideration of the prohibitions and fears which accompany love in the ‘fallen' world.


Blake believed that sleep allows dreaming and thus access to feelings and experiences unavailable to the waking mind. Therefore, the dream here is a representation of the speaker's inner, instinctual life. Her waking self seems unaware of these feelings, hence she is unable to understand her dream.

Within her dream, the speaker is sad because she is unable to accept her desires. This causes pain and ultimately drives away true love, because she is unable to receive or reciprocate it. When her desires are finally acknowledged, she defends herself with all kinds of inhibitions and defences against the loss of self in relationship. When love presents itself again, she is thus protected by this self-consciousness and is grown old in spirit if not in body. The opportunity for love has been lost.

Investigating The Angel

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