Depictions of Satan had started off with a grotesque and monstrous figure, but depictions of and attitudes towards the character shifted with the publication of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. However, although the aesthetics of the figure shifted, I argue that William Blake’s renderings of Satan continue the tradition of rendering them as monstrous and grotesque in a new way, in that Blake renders Satan as a hermaphrodite. Attitudes towards hermaphrodites has shifted over time, but the attitude of regarding them as unnatural or monstrous harkens back to ancient Greece, and these attitudes were only furthered with time and the advent of modern medicine. Ambiguous sex was both lauded and reviled in Blake’s time, where in theory it was regarded as a pinnacle of humanity, but in actuality it was regarded as nature’s mistake that needed rectifying. I argue that this is a tradition that Blake continued.
Level of Degree
UNM Department of Art and Art History
First Committee Member (Chair)
Kirsten Buick, Ph.D.
Second Committee Member
Justine Andrews, Ph.D.
Third Committee Member
Eva Hayward, Ph.D.
Blake, Hermaphrodite, Romanticism, Intersex, Satan, Gender
Hartsock, Genevieve E.. "William Blake's Satan as a Hermaphrodite." (2021). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/arth_etds/117