Essay about The Theme of the Suffering Innocent in Blake's London

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The Theme of the Suffering Innocent in Blake's London

The poem "London" by William Blake paints a frightening, dark picture of the eighteenth century London, a picture of war, poverty and pain. Written in the historical context of the English crusade against France in 1793, William Blake cries out with vivid analogies and images against the repressive and hypocritical English society. He accuses the government, the clergy and the crown of failing their mandate to serve people. Blake confronts the reader in an apocalyptic picture with the devastating consequences of diseasing the creative capabilities of a society.

Choosing the first person form in the first and fourth stanza, the poet reflects his personal …show more content…

The tempo increases in the second stanza due to short and choppy vowel sounds, while the mood changes to an active outrage against oppression. The consonant "y" replicates the sounds of cries, recreating the experience of audible pain that the people and the poet suffered. Repetitions and alliteration of the word "every" creates an urgency and a common bond between the different elements of society. The responsible adult "every man", the "infant", a symbol of innocence and helplessness, "every voice", the writers, and "every ban", the rebel, all these members of society experience oppression. The common bond is expressed metaphorically in the "mind-forged manacles?, giving us the horrifying sound of clanking iron chains, which were so common and terrifying in those days.

But is not simply sound, it is the image of manacles, cuffs, hammered into the minds of people, as a blacksmith beats the iron into shape, that completes the picture of subtle and effective oppression, killing thoughts before they are even spoken. The reader can almost feel the physical hurt which is implied by these images that accuse the government of brainwashing and repressing creative expression.

In the first line of the third stanza the poet introduces a sharp accusation against the church and

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