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Spiegazione: London, Blake

Spiegazione e significato:
This short poem describes London at the time of the French Revolution and is also an enquiry into why such a revolution was impossible in England. It was written at the end of 18th century, when in 1750 started the industrialization and so people moved to cities and work lots of hours.
The poet’s relative freedom to wander is contrasted with the repression he finds. All of the city seems controlled and a rational order, like the order of a prison, governs daily life. The people follow this order without question, a situation described in the phrase “the mind-forged manacles”. Men are forced to join the army to fight the French in a war in which they have no personal investment. The Church is appalled by the poverty of most people but does nothing, preferring to preach a message of sexual repression that destroys love. Frustrated by their arid marriages men turn to prostitutes for sexual satisfaction, and so bring sexually transmitted diseases into the home.
“The mind-forged manacles” symbolizes lack of freedom, restriction, imprisonment, submission, obligation. There are many type of freedom: of speech, writing, expressing someone self, political freedom, economic freedom by respecting other people, religious freedom and, the most important, that is above all freedom, is the inner freedom in mind, because society controls mind.
Human kind are mind-forged when they agree with convention of society, psychological pressure, accept the rule of society without questioning. So according to Blake being afraid to being judge by other people isn’t freedom. He fiercely attacked the industrialization because miserable people are in a sorrowful condition and weakness: there’s exploitation, illness, poverty, hard work for about 14 hours per day. Also exploitation was carried out by the dominant class.
This attack was uncommon at 18th century, we find this more evident with Swift with the problems of poverty. Blake met a chimney sweep who is exploited by the adults for economic purposes, that had to be protected by Church and parents. He met even a young prostitute (harlot) that represents women exploited for sexual reasons and at the same time she is ill and disease infects marriages (and so become a hearse), sex is more important than love.
Blake wrote Garden of Love that talks about love for mankind, in the first stanza there’s a child playing when Church imposes restriction and at the end he isn’t free anymore but free inside. However in “London” he saw soldier’s blood cover palace that are people who die for the power, the government  that decide to make war without think about soldier that might die. The government exploit humble people to keep the power and the higher class act for their own. There’s a contrast:
  1. People who don’t know the world (evil) because it is view through the eyes of children and so it is joyful, playful;
  2. The world seen through the eyes of an adult who knows the evils of life, brought about economic, sexual, political exploitations; church doesn’t protect people but it is sided with the powerful.

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