London: The Unraveling City Essay

1196 words - 5 pages

London: The Unraveling CityIn the poem "London" by William Blake, Blake makes the reader well aware of the city's infestation of suffering and poverty. Blake chooses to ignore the familiar, admirable view of London, and so replaces it with his impression of reality. To Blake, London is no more than a city that is ruled by severe economics, and where Royalty and other sources of power have removed integrity and virtuousness to deteriorate so all that is left is hardship and destitution. There are three very distinct allegories that Blake uses; "mind-forg'd manacles", "blackning Church", and "Marriage hearse", that express the idea of a city that greatly suffers from physical and psychological imprisonment, social oppression, and an unraveling moral society because of the Industrial Revolution happening at the time.It can be said that there are two contributors to the phrase "mind forg'd manacles" (Blake line 8), the oppressors and the victims. These can both help set the psychological pain that the people of "London" are feeling. The oppressors can be represented as disease, Royalty and the Church, and the victims can be presented as innocent soldiers, and infants. The location of the poem can also contribute to the population's state because some atmospheres impact how people react in their environment, and "London" is depicted as confined, which can create the illusion that the people are trapped in their own misery. Disease is a contributor to the distress of the citizens. "And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse" (15-16). This is an oxymoron phrase that can place an emphasis on London's current marriage practices. The way that London was, marriage no longer signified virtue, but it was looked upon as unclean. Men and women became rather careless with their sexual activities, making it seem like more of past time, rather than purity. This helped the spread of diseases, which lead to the death of marriage. The church made citizens feel despair by acknowledging that suffering is okay, because heaven still granted rewards to followers who did not complain about pain. Since the Church holds a lot of power, citizens felt like they had no other choice than to follow the advice that is given to them. Royalty is represented as "palace walls" (12), and it is apparent how great the poorness of the city is compared to the royal palace, and with the use of the word walls, it signifies that the Royalty tries to block out the immense suffering of the citizens. The victims of this are never represented as just individuals, but one characteristic of humankind is implemented to present each citizen as a whole. Men are portrayed as soldiers, who are devoted to heroism and might. Instead, they are doomed and defenseless, forced to face death for Royalty's ravenousness, which is another connotation for the "blood" that stains the walls of the palace. Women have no power in society, so they are forced to use their bodies as a means of survival. The need...

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