Plate 7 of The Book of Urizen, created by William Blake in 1794, contains the lines “I sought Pleasure & found Pain” and “Unutterable.” This plate is a striking addition to Blake’s attempt to create his own mythology, as it shows a figure reaching for pleasure only to find pain.
The Book of Urizen is considered among Blake’s most complex printed books and describes Urizen as the “Creator of Men.” This work exemplifies Blake’s radical spirit and offers a mythic transformation of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. The book was printed on 28 plates (some copies contain 24 plates), with only eight known copies currently in existence.
Plate 7 emphasizes the importance of seeking pleasure thoughtfully, as not all gratification may lead to happiness. Its inclusion in The Book of Urizen implies that the creator deity portrayed was flawed rather than omniscient or omnipotent, aligning with Blake’s ideas about religion and rebellion against oppressive authoritarianism. It also reflects on how people must handle their situations intelligently before taking a step further towards acquiring their anticipations.
In summary, Plate 7 from The Book of Urizen holds deep insights into human nature and reflects Williams Blake’s critical views on religion’s dogmatic teachings while offering an alternative way towards creating one’s mythology out from traditional narratives.