Analysis of London by William Blake Essay

Historic poetry is unique in the respect that it gives readers an insight into a certain historic time period that textbooks cannot provide. Historic poetry not only gives a description of the time period but it allows the readers to connect to the emotions of the poet and to a point experience what it would have felt to live in that era. This is the case with William Blake’s poem London. London not only describes the horrid condition of England’s lower class during the industrial revolution but it also connects this description with a strong emotion response from the speaker. Blake’s stylistic and structure choices through out the poem paint a dark and morbid view of London but the emotion of the poem remains divide. The words of the poem’s speaker evokes both sympathy for the lower classes at the same time as he is chastising the people who have the power to change the situation.Upon first reading one of London’s most distinguishable feature is the rhythm that is evoked by the closed structure of the poem. London’s text is divided into four stanzas each containing four lines. The four lines in the each stanza follow a pattern of repeated syllable count which features the corresponding lines from each stanza having identical syllable counts. Another structural device that Blake employs is an ABAB rhyming scheme at the end of every line, which is what brings out the poem’s steady beat. Together these structural choices develop a chant-like rhythm that brings out emotion from both side of the poem’s message. On one hand this chant like rhythm creates a feeling of conformity and industry, which is a reflection of the industrial revolution and the power of the government. However, the chant also can be seen as a representation of …

…ions of his speaker creates and underlying tension in the poem as it appears that he can not decide whether he is chastising the rich member of society for allowing the lives of the lower class to remain in such desolate or if he is sympathizing with the lower class against the elite of London. The two moods of sympathizing and chastising are created through Blake’s use of structure and figurative language; he constructs his speakers words in such a way that there is a clear division made between the elite and the suffering lower class. Blake’s poem is unique on the grounds that it contrasts the typical idea of retelling history. With any historical situation there is always two sides to the story and it is up to the person reproducing it which side will be told; Blake’s London address both point of views and lets the audience decide which side they will agree with.

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