The Poems of William Blake

Poetry is Seizing Life by the Throat: Analysis of "London"

“Poetry,” said Robert Frost “is a way of seizing life by the throat.” Not having been equipped with the media and technology of today, poets of the post-1770s era often approached their poetry in this fashion. They took advantage of the freedom of words and used poetry to express their views and opinions on social and personal issues, which was most effectively done through the usage of vibrant language.

“London” by William Blake is one such example of a poet using aggressive language to express his dissatisfaction with the oppression and alienation evident in his days. Blake responds to these societal inequities by representing what many have called a form of “social protest” against the political and economic gloom Blake believed had gripped London at that time. Blake wishes to use the poem to show his contempt for the “charter’d” city of London, and he does this effectively through the use of subtle word choices, which leave an impact on the reader. He uses repetition and words with double meaning to explain the appalling conditions of the city of London. One example would be the repetitive use of “charter’d” in the poem, which emphasizes how Blake felt that the city had been forced to submit to an organized structure. Even...

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