In this essay I will be examining the way 5 poems by William Blake
convey his attitudes towards the society he lived in. William Blake
was born on the 28th of November 1757, and then died on the 12th of
August 1827. He spent most of his life living in London, except from
1800 to 1803 where he lived in a cottage in Felpham, a seaside village
in Sussex. When Blake was almost 25 he married Catherine Bouchier.
They had no children but were married for almost 45 years. In 1784, a
year after he published his first collection of poems, Blake set up an
engraving business, prior to this he was an apprentice engraver making
plates where pictures for books were printed. Blake?s most famous
collections of poems were most probably the 'Songs of Innocence' and
the 'Songs of experience'. These collections focused on human nature
and society in both positive and negative terms.
The first poem that I will look at in this essay will be ?London?.
?London? is a poem, which the modern reader can empathise with more
than maybe ?The echoing green? ? another poem by William Blake. This
is due to the fact that it emphasises the vast difference from those
in power to the melancholy of poor people, which is common in today?s
society. The strongest metaphorical image portrayed in ?London? is
without a doubt, the ?mind-forg?d manacles? on the last line of the
second stanza. Also in another poem by Blake called ?The Tyger?, the
image of ?the forge? appears where ?manacles? are produced. Manacles
for the hands and shackles for the legs, these would be seen on
prisoners being moved from one place to another, this was quite common
in London at Blake?s time, they were usually on their way to be
shipped off to ...
... middle of paper ...
...s obviously about
the way people live unhappily together but at a deeper level where
?every? person is miserable. Reading the poems you might think Blake
has a narrow view of society (due to his restricted use of
vocabulary), but this is not the case. He deliberately repeats words,
such as ?fears? and ?tears?. Blake?s overall view on society is that
there are a lot of restrictions, but there is a way to break free.
That there is always misery, but that is how we?ve chosen to make the
world. Blake also thinks that the hierarchy of society take pleasure
in looking down at the poor and the needy and seek satisfaction by
giving them ?hand-outs?. Although Blake?s observation isn?t all gloom
for example he says in ?The Human Abstract? of the ?Humility? of
society, this is showing that modesty and some things good can shine
through the general evil of society.
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