The Portrayal of Industrialization in London by William Blake

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In “London” by William Blake the grunge, and domineering nature of a city engaged in a transformation of industry, is articulated through the setting. London of the poem, and the 1700s and 1800s, was griped by a sense of overwhelming entrapment in the mechanical comings and goings of industry. This massive shift is expressed through the stark nature of the setting, and the speaker’s awareness of a sense of confinement, and malaise in the face of great progress. Blake’s choices in the portrayal of industrialized London, is one aimed to express the overwhelming battle between machinery, and flesh in a city gripped by the throws of revolution. It is through the city itself, and the people who inhabit it that Blake elects…show more content…
The infectious nature of misery, is mass-produced much like the goods and products being made within the towering structures. Blake continues to use the setting and language to further describe a forbidding sense of apathy that has taken with it the human like qualities of the inhabitants. In this city of desecration it is the “hapless Soldiers sigh” that ”Runs in blood down Palace walls.” A soldier whose function to obey orders without thought echoes that of a machine. It is his apathy in the face of perceived predetermined failure ,and disregard for authority however that is characteristic of a society concerned only with the amassment of wealth is the most damaging. The “chartered street” and a “chartered Thames” create a setting that in itself is structured and designed much like the blueprints of factories. Blake’s “mind-forged manacles” are the barriers created in the minds of those who inhabit the city that further cement their entrapment. William Blake’s “London” is a poem not only aimed at speaking to the impacts of industrialization on a city, but also to the loss of humanity that is associated with the quest for the acquisition of material wealth and power. The mechanical nature of the city, and the darkness that seems to hover over and within it, is conveyed through the setting. The environment of Blake’s London leaves the reader in search of unfound salvation. The ongoing war between flesh and
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