London by William Blake

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William Blake?s poem entitled ?London? is a reflection upon the societal and economic upheavals in London during the late 18th century. The poem describes the advent of the Industrial period and control of the ?Establishment? over the lower socio-economic classes.

The poem defines how London emerged as a chartered society built, upon the backs of the poor. Blake utilizes the word "charter'd" to emphasize the plight of the poor and to suggest the control of the church. The word ?charter?d? has many connotations within this poem. For example the first line of this poem, ?I wander thro? each charter?d street?, Blake is recognizing who built the streets and who?s property it belongs too. It is a comment on the commercialism in London. As the poem progresses, Blake refers to the "charter'd Thames?, the rivers, the land, the people and the sum are all considered the property of London, of the Church.

In lines 4 and 5, ?mark in every face I meet, Marks of weakness, marks of woe,? suggests that the commercialism, industrialization affects every citizen, rich or poor. Yet, despite the divisions that the word charter'd suggests, the speaker contends that no one in London, neither rich nor poor, escapes a pervasive sense of misery and entrapment. The poem describes how ?In every cry of every man" one can hear the misery. Blake is once again reminding the reader that industrialization is affecting everyone. In stanza 2, ?In every Infant?s cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forg?d manacles I hear.? Suggests the way of life, the culture, society, will be forever changed. The Establishment has made the bond and the manacles will be worn.

The poem ?London? is an obvious attack upon the evolution of the socio-economic climate within London. Blake criticizes the Church...