How Does Blake Present a Troubled City in His Poem London?

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How does Blake present a troubled city in his poem London? In the poem ‘London’ by William Blake he uses a first person narrative, this makes the poem appear more personal, it is also written in the present tense which creates immediacy and gives the illusion that it is happening now. In the first line where he says ‘each charter’d street’ the word charter’d is repeated in the second line when he describes the Thames, the use of this shows that London is a city bound by law and there is a lack of freedom, the Thames is a natural river which cannot be changed, Blake is saying that he isn’t free and neither is the Thames this is a juxtaposition. Blake uses repetition again in this stanza with the word ‘marks’ the first is used as a verb. ‘Marks of weakness, marks of woe’ Blake uses marks as an abstract noun to describe the sadness of the people that he meets and also as a concrete noun to describe the physical cuts and scars. This is also commented on in Jon Crook’s critical reading of London where he states that the word shifts from a verb to a noun and that by making marks Blake discovers worlds, in London he has discovered a world of misery marked in the faces that he passes. The second stanza has a semantic field of sadness and pain, the repetition of ‘in every’ is an effective way to show that this sadness is affecting everyone in the city of London at the time. It shows the emotion in ‘cry of every man’ and ‘infants cry of fear’ that they are all going through the same pain. It also symbolises the lack of freedom when he says ‘in every ban.’ The last line in the second stanza is ambiguous ‘The mind-forg’d manacles I hear’ is a metaphorical phrase that reinforces the feeling of being trapped in London, the word manacles has connotations of slavery and that the people of London are enslaving themselves. Blake shows that even the children living in London at
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