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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The tone of the poem changes as the poem progresses. The poem begins with energetic language like “full of heroic tales” and “by a mere swing to his shoulder”. The composer also uses hyperboles like “My father began as a god” and “lifted me to heaven”. The use of this positive language indicates to the responder that the composer is longing for those days – he is nostalgic. It also highlights the perspective of a typical child. The language used in the middle of the poem is highly critical of his father: “A foolish small old man”. This highlights the perspective of a typical teenager and signifies that they have generally conflicting views. The language used in the last section of the poem is more loving and emotional than the rest: “...revealing virtues such as honesty, generosity, integrity”. This draws attention to a mature adult’s perspective.
Since it does, when reading each line, there is a resilient connection that allows the reader to put together and feel for what the narrator is speaking of. As each line is metrically linked, the words are further recited in a durable voice and the poem is virtually put together, musically. In the first and second lines of the third stanza, an apostrophe, a figure of speech that directly addresses an absent person or entity, is presented, “We smile, but O great Christ, our cries to thee from tortured souls arise.”
One way that Blake uses to convey his anger on what he sees is through
The topic of death is either suppressed or masked in both poems. Both poems are very strong and powerful pieces, which allows readers to connect to the issues being told. Throughout “London”, Blake not only implies the difficult times that London went through during the Industrial revolution, but also how many died during this
In "London", William Blake brings to light a city overrun by poverty and hardship. Blake discards the common, glorifying view of London and replaces it with his idea of truth. London is nothing more but a city strapped by harsh economic times where Royalty and other venues of power have allowed morality and goodness to deteriorate so that suffering and poverty are all that exist. It is with the use of three distinct metaphors; "mind-forg'd manacles", "blackning Church", and "Marriage hearse", that Blake conveys the idea of a city that suffers from physical and psychological imprisonment, social oppression, and an unraveling moral society.
London by William Blake is a poem characterised by its dark and overbearing tone. It is a glimpse at a period of England's history (particularly London) during war and poverty, experienced by the narrator as he walks through the streets. Using personification it draws a great human aspect to its representation of thoughts and beliefs of the narrator.
William Blake’s poem “London” takes a complex look at life in London, England during the late seventeen hundreds into the early eighteen hundreds as he lived and experienced it. Blake’s use of ambiguous and double meaning words makes this poem both complex and interesting. Through the following explication I will unravel these complexities to show how this is an interesting poem.
Immediately, the question of who this person may be comes to mind. As the second stanza begins it is clear the the point of view has switched to third person and Thomas’ goes on to describe how good, wise, wild and grave men have “[raged] against the dying of the light” (7). The entirety of the fifth stanza is a declarative sentence- a call to arms against the war on death. This is an apparatus to ignite passion amongst those who hear his words. But the sixth stanza comes full circle back to second person creating a more intimate effect. This illuminates the overwhelming distress and devastation he felt at the time because it is here that Thomas’ own father is revealed to be the subject of the poem.
William Blake focused on biblical images in the majority of his poetry and prose. Much of his well-known work comes from the two compilations Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. The poems in these compilations reflect Blake's metamorphosis in thought as he grew from innocent to experienced. An example of this metamorphosis is the two poems The Divine Image and A Divine Image. The former preceded the latter by one year.
The short stanzas containing powerful imagery overwhelm the readers forcing them to imagine the oppression that the speaker went through in
London is a city of many faces. Through the writing of these two famed authors, William Blake and William Wordsworth, they both manage to effectively illustrate the two very different views on London. Blake shows us the dark and twisted side of London facing poverty and oppression, while Wordsworth highlights the bright, peaceful, and beautiful aspects of London. The two poets write their contrasting views by using tones, imagery, and senses; can open the reader's eyes to change and how quickly it can happen.
William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience are collections of poems that utilize the imagery, instruction, and lives of children to make a larger social commentary. The use of child-centered themes in the two books allowed Blake to make a crucial commentary on his political and moral surroundings with deceptively simplistic and readable poetry. Utilizing these themes Blake criticized the church, attacking the hypocritical clergy and pointing out the ironies and cruelties found within the doctrines of organized religion. He wrote about the horrific working conditions of children as a means to magnify the inequality between the poor working class and
William Blake is one of England’s most famous literary figures. He is remembered and admired for his skill as a painter, engraver, and poet. He was born on Nov. 28, 1757 to a poor Hosier’s family living in or around London. Being of a poor family, Blake received little in the way of comfort or education while growing up. Amazingly, he did not attend school for very long and dropped out shortly after learning to read and write so that he could work in his father’s shop. The life of a hosier however was not the right path for Blake as he exhibited early on a skill for reading and drawing. Blake’s skill for reading can be seen in his understanding for and use of works such as the Bible and Greek classic literature.
William Blake was one of those 19th century figures who could have and should have been beatniks, along with Rimbaud, Verlaine, Manet, Cezanne and Whitman. He began his career as an engraver and artist, and was an apprentice to the highly original Romantic painter Henry Fuseli. In his own time he was valued as an artist, and created a set of watercolor illustrations for the Book of Job that were so wildly but subtly colored they would have looked perfectly at home in next month's issue of Wired.