Analysis of London by William Blake

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Written in four stanzas, London by William Blake uses an ‘A, B, A, B' rhythmic pattern. More in a lyrical form, the poem is basically about someone where he wanders in London and describes his thoughts and observations. He sees poverty, misery, and despair on people's face and notices how London is a hideous and corrupted place with injustice in every corner. The poem starts with a sinister and gloomy atmosphere which quickly gives an idea to the reader what the author thinks of London. I noticed the author uses repetition of words such as "every". I assume it is to emphasise the fact that this suffering is not only affecting a group of people but everybody. At the third stanza, the "chimney-sweeper's cry" symbolizes that people are forced to repair what the society had done wrong. Blake is also blaming the church by describing as "blackening" to represent its corruption. Then, the "hapless soldier's sigh" evokes the idea that the soldiers don't have a choice but to serve their country and "Runs in blood down palace-walls." refers to their dreams and lives that will be stolen and shattered by the society. Clearly, the author shows his repugnance and hatred towards London by using dark imageries and evil-evoking words. At the last stanza, "the youthful harlot's curse" means that the new-born will be born in their turn in poverty, despair, diseases will be contracted, etc. and the cycle of corruption is going to start all over again. By putting together "marriage" and "hearse", I think the author meant that everything, even the happiest event will eventually lead to death. All in all, the poem shows that life is hard and difficult, that there is misery everywhere in London and those who are too much concerned about money should feel guilty from those that suffer around them.
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