Symbology In Blake's, "London"

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Blake’s “London” William Blake endured a callous and unyielding period of English history. The French Revolution was still young and just beginning its global effect. Blake’s own city, London, was in a period of rapid expansion. As more immigrants flooded the city, the impoverished continued to get pushed lower and lower. In 1792, the English government, made up of the affluent, controlled most every part of the common mans’ life. A Royal Proclamation was drafted and British troops were garrisoned around the entire city, to protect the country from the French Revolutionary Wars. In Blake’s classic poem “London,” he accentuates the feelings of depression, regret, and the annihilation of common morals through combinations of the speaker, symbols, and the form of the poem. Using a first-person point of view brings the reader directly into the situation intended by the author. The feelings of strolling through a large city by a river come right to mind when Blake opens with, “I wander through each chartered street, / Near where the chartered Thames does flow,” (1,2). The majority of the poem is about the speaker’s vision, and who is around him. As the speaker looks around the city, he sees people surrendering and succumbing to the censorship of the British Government. “And mark in every face I meet / Marks of weakness, marks of woe…/ And the hapless Soldier’s sigh” (3-4, 11), all show the speaker’s observations around the city. The Soldier does not want to be in the military. A draft was instated during this time period, and thousands of the nation’s youth were required to serve duty to attempt to protect the power held by the British Government. While the speaker’s firsthand view of others is powerful, the form of the poem helps to continue the
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