Coursework on William Blake's "London"

Topics: 18th century, London, William Blake Pages: 2 (787 words) Published: May 25, 2013
The famous poem London by William Blake is widely considered to be a masterpiece by all enthusiasts of fine literature. In the poem, William Blake describes to us the situation of sorrow and despair that seems to envelope 18th century London. In the poem, William Blake is walking through a street near the river Thames and sees the people engulfed in misery and describes it as he sees it. He describes over and over again about how miserable the people are in a deeply sorrowful tone. By using the sorrowful tone, it makes it seem as though Blake wants the reader to understand and sympathize upon the situation of London during the 18th Century. Despite London being a poem with a widely perceived deeper meaning, the structure is fairly basic. It is arranged in four quatrains much to the effect William Blake was trying to create. Each quatrain portrays a different aspect of misery in the city. ‘I wandered though each chartered street,’ the first quatrain, depicts William Blake walking through a street as he sees the fear and misery in the faces of everyone he meets, ‘A mark in every face I meet, Marks of weakness, marks of woe.’ In the second quatrain, the use of the ‘every’ expresses the widespread misery and woe of London. ‘In every cry of every man, in every infant’s cry of fear, in every voice, in every ban, the mind-forged manacles I hear.’ Blake uses the word ‘every’ to great effect as he is able to portray the universal depression that enveloped people at the time. The third and fourth quatrain further enforces the universal depression but this time more specific. William Blake uses examples from the real world to reinforce his point. ‘How the chimney-sweeper’s cry’ references the horrible conditions very young children had to brave. ‘And the hapless soldier’s sigh, runs in blood down the palace walls’ references the pointless violence that took place during the 18th century. In William Blake’s London, there are many images shown through the use of metaphors...
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