Newton - personificação do homem limitado pela razão

Willian Blake

Personification of Man Limited by Reason

The eighteenth-century poet, Alexander Pope, wrote a satirical epitaph for Newton: 'Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night/God said Let Newton be! And all was light'. This shows just how much the eighteenth century revered the great philosopher. Newton had successfully explained the workings of the physical universe. To Blake, however, this was not enough: Newton had omitted God, as well as all those significant emotional and spiritual elements which cannot be quantified, from his theories. Blake boasted that he had 'fourfold vision' while Newton with his 'single vision' was as good as asleep. To Blake, Newton, Bacon and Locke with their emphasis on reason were nothing more than 'the three great teachers of atheism, or Satan's Doctrine'.

In this print from 1795 Newton is portrayed drawing with a pair of compasses. Compasses were a traditional symbol of God, 'architect of the universe', but notice how the picture progresses from exuberance and colour on the left, to sterility and blackness on the right. In Blake's view Newton brings not light, but night.

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