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London, An Analysis

896 words - 4 pages

William Blake makes a pointed critique of the society and institutions of the English Government in his poem, "London." Throughout the poem Blake presents an image of man against society. He directly accuses several institutions and society itself of creating the tyranny that is controlling the people of London. He alludes to the struggle of the classes, the upper-class controlling the lower, as being the reason for the problems in London. This conflict of classes is the reason for the oppression and tyranny that the people of London are forced to live under. The upper-class has to control the lower classes by subjugating them and forcing them to live by their rules. Blake writes the ...view middle of the document...

The other people in the poem don't seem to have any idea what the cause of their problem is, only the speaker in the poem. The speaker says that he hears "mind-forged manacles." (Line 7) This makes evident that the society has put restraints on how the people think and act. They are restrained and their own minds are doing it to them. The people that the speaker is talking about are the mass of people in London. They go along with their lives because they know nothing else. Their own minds keep them in place and under control of a society that exploits them.

The next stanza is the first to make direct accusations towards the institutions of England. Blake clearly accuses the Church and the Government for helping to create the situation that the people live in. The Church of England was extremely political. It was one of the main reasons that the rich could sustain control of the society by making the lower class ascribe to its rules. The same reasoning for the Government, because the upper-class controlled the Government, they also controlled the fate of the citizens which were under its rule. This stanza presents an image of a people that are oppressed and isolated, "How the Chimney-sweeper's cry/.../ And the hapless Soldier's sigh" (Lines 9-11). The working class of the society is not being heard by the controlling class. This is the main theme of the poem. The people of the society are not being represented because the upper-class does not care about them. The lower classes are just the...

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