A Symbolic Analysis of William Blake's London Essay

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A Symbolic Analysis of William Blake's London

.........In his reflection "London," William Blake laments the poverty faced by the lower class of modern, industrialized London, and he can find no note of consolation or hope for their future. The poet uses this theme to dramatically depict the conditions in which the oppressed lower class is forced to live; he develops the theme through the use of sounds, symbolism, and an ironic twist of words in the last line that expresses Blake's ultimate belief in the hopelessness of the situation. The poem is dominated by a rigid iambic meter that mirrors the rigidity and immutability of the lives of the poor and the oppressive class system.

.........The first stanza begins with the poet
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The institution has become hypocritical because, while it still preaches pity, it fails to offer any remedy to the oppression of the poor. The soldier, who should be a symbol of the strength and glory of England, is nothing more than another poverty-stricken human, and so the depiction of his sigh running in blood down palace walls symbolizes that the beauty and glory of England-the palace-is marred and made grotesque by the oppression of the soldier class.

.........The fourth and final stanza returns to a slightly more concrete depiction of what "most thro' midnight streets [he] hear[s]": the "youthful Harlot's curse" not only "blasts the new born infant's tear," but also "blights with plagues the Marriage hearse." The unusual, poignant juxtaposition of "marriage" with "hearse" brings the mood of hopelessness to a peak; as a result of sexually transmitted diseases, marriage and sex are now connected with death, not life.

........."London" is written in

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