William Blake as a Critic of His Time Essay

William Blake as a Critic of His Time Essay

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William Blake as a Critic of His Time


Blake took an active role in exposing the corruption taking place in his society. Prime targets of his criticisms were the institutions that remained silent in the faces of injustice. Blake stands agains the institutions that allow human oppression. Three of his poems from Songs of Experience present his views on the matter: "The Chimney Sweeper," "The Garden of Love," and "London."

In "The Chimney Sweeper," Blake takes his stand against the the calamities brought upon children by those supposed to protect him. Innocence comes to an end for the child when he is exposed to the horrors of sweeping chimneys . His sadness can be felt when he says : "They clothed me in the clothes of death/and taught me to sing the notes of woe" (Blake, 6-7). The child is telling society that his pain is being caused by those in whom he put his trust— his parents. Even more disconcerting is to know that his parents do nothing to stop his horrors. They abandon him and go "...to praise God & his Priest & King" (Blake, 11). Perhaps they do this , because on the outside their child looks happy and they probably think that they are helping him more than anything: "‘ And because I am happy, & dance& sing,/ They think they have done me no injury," (Blake, 9-10) . In the meantime, the church is also playing a part in his misery. How? Because it allows the parents to come inside its building to pray when they should be protecting their child from all harm: "‘They are both gone up to the church to pray'" (Blake, 4). ".....a heaven of our misery" (Blake, 12) finally emphasizes to the reader once more those who are responsible for the child's pain and sorrows . He hopes that, somehow, people would tak...


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...sily seen how Blake stood against the suffering of human kind and used his poems to expose the corruption of the world that surrounded him. He clearly critized the society and hoped that people would take action to change things for the better. The problems in Blake's society aren't very different than the ones in today's world. People should take a good look around them and take action to better their surroundings.

Works Cited

Blake, William. "The Chimney Sweeper" (SE). The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M. H. Abrams, et al. 7th edition. Vol 2. New York: Norton, 2000. 52

"The Garden of Love." The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M. H. Abrams, et al. 7th edition. Vol 2. New York: Norton, 2000. 56

"London." The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. M. H. Abrams, et al. 7th edition. Vol 2. New York: Norton, 2000. 56

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