Analytical Essay of the Poem "London"

Submitted By btsn125
Words: 954
Pages: 4

The poem “London” written by William Blake is very interesting but at the same time is also very dark and depressing. It tells a short story of someone (possibly Blake) walking through London in the late 1700’s and everything he sees and makes note of. The poem is basically just a compilation of observations taken by the speaker, but has a political statement within it also. Due to the dark nature of the poem, it seems that Blake is trying to show the people of London that what goes on there is unjust and something needs to change. Blake feels that the people of London are oppressed not only physically but mentally as well and is trying to show them that they are, if they don’t already know. He isn’t blaming anything in particular at first. Then Blake mentions the church and the palace but seems to be mostly blaming the general public themselves for conforming to these rules and not rising up against what is holding them down and making their daily lives miserable. The poem starts with the speaker talking about the overall feeling or vibe he is getting walking down the street in London. In the first two lines Blake repeats the word charter’d (1-2). Blake does this to stress the reality and severity of London’s position. He’s saying that not only are the streets being regulated but the Thames river is also regulated and he doesn’t seem very happy about it. Blake puts this repetition in the first two lines to set the mood and tone of the poem. Blake is very unhappy or even disgusted with what London has become and he makes it quite obvious with this opening. He then goes on to say that everyone else he sees is also unhappy and even calls them weak (3-4). That shows that he is not the only one but also seems as if he is wondering why nobody is doing anything about it. Clearly if he can see what is happening and he knows everybody around him is experiencing the same thing than why has nobody acted? He is calling out for people to act in an attempt to change London’s corrupt and unjust society. He wants the people to stand together instead of just dealing with it. Blake again uses repetition in lines three and four to show that people have been dealing with this for too long. Blake then starts talking about what the people of London are actually talking about. He uses the words “In every” in repetition in lines five through seven to show that he is talking about everybody in London without any exceptions. “In every cry of every man,” is how he starts talking about what he hears being said in the streets of London (5). This means that every man in London is crying out and doesn’t have something good to say. The next line is similar but Blake says “Infant’s cry of fear” (6). His choice of the word fear is what makes this line interesting. Infants are always crying but Blake decides that it is because of fear. If every infant is crying of fear then London’s policies at the time must have been that horrible. He then sums up everybody’s crying when Blake says “The mind-forg’d manacles I hear” (8). What he means by mind-forg’d manacles are things that people don’t talk about in fear of being made an example of. People limited or filtered what they said because they were afraid of the consequences of speaking out against their government. That line makes a lot more sense of the previous three by stating that the people are crying about the way things are but at the same time, they limit how they…