The poem ‘London’ by William Blake does more that just describing the city where the author Blake spent most of his life. It forms an overwhelming and exact political study written in intense anger showing the connections between models of possession and the reigning ideology. It shows how the human race is entangled with various destructive vices in the society. The writer tries to explain the predicament that has fallen on people every where starting from the young ones to grownups. He starts by showing the problems that have befallen him when he talks of wandering. He says that he wanders through each chartered street which demonstrates the frustrations of many people. The word chartered has been repeated in order to emphasize the situation. Furthermore, the word appears overemphasized by the way of splitting in two. The use of this strengthened word twice is meant to enlighten the irony of the streets which were personal but were filled with the oppression that was driven by capitalism during the early times where emerging capitalists who didn’t need the throne for power used to collect riches for themselves through taxes and hence taking the wealth from the mainstream population to the minority. The writer makes use of the image of marks on the faces of people to reveal their feelings about what was happening in this neighborhood.
Blake uses repetition of the word ‘every’ in the second verse, five times to stress the point. He uses the image of cries of men as well as infants to manifest the gravity of the issue. His use of infants crying in fear implies that they are victims. The children are crying in fear of what has befallen them while men are crying because of what other men are doing. In the last verse of the poem, the writer tries to show how the young prostitutes are killing their children through abortion. This is the reason why children are crying with fear. He says that these evils are happening at night in secluded places along the streets. The soldiers sigh and their blood running down palace walls. This tries to manifest the problems experienced by soldiers in their work. All these evils are leading to the death of family values and that is why the institution of marriage is loosing its grip in the society.
The poem ‘Ozymandias’ on the other hand shows the decline of political leaders however strong they are, over time. Ozymandias is an alternative name for the Rameses II, an ancient Egyptian king. The writer starts by drawing a vivid picture of the tomb of the Ozymandias which looks different from what Ozymandias himself would have wanted it to look like. The king instructed a sculptor to design a huge model that showed his enormous power but a traveler who came across it found only broken stones that had been destroyed by time.
The statue that had been disfigured by time was still decipherable but it had been shattered and it was obvious that it was no longer in command. This is shown by the use of image that the inscribed words could still be read, “Look on my works, ye mighty”. The destroyed tomb is found on a big desert which could be interpreted as the writer’s way of showing how dictators’ reign ultimately ends in a waste land.
Shelley’s poem bears more satire by the way it shows the vulnerability of the human race as far as mortality is concerned. The writer explains that mutability and mortality will ultimately destroy every person on earth. The poem remains a compelling analysis of tyrants like Ozymandias and others but it is also an outstanding meditation on the human race whose time on earth is limited. All of the components of the poem that is the traveler, the artist who made the sculpture and the tomb as well as the reader, have the same destiny with Ozymandias. All our plans and creation, however superior and complicated they may appear, are bound by the same element which is time. The strength and might of a political leader may appear great and magnificent but does not last forever. The image used by Shelley to describe the fall of an empire looks particularly powerful. This is because many political leaders do not seem to think that their rule will ever come to and end. This is a great lesson not only to leaders but also to everyone else that no one shall remain on earth forever.
In conclusion, the poem ‘London’ depicts the problems that were experienced by the residents of the city where Blake grew up. These social problems led to the cries and frustrations of the general public from children to grownups. The problems range from the death of soldiers in the government, prostitution, abortion and the death of the family institution. The second poem ‘Ozymandias’ depicts the fall of great kingdoms which at the beginning may not look destructible. However, time has a special ability of bringing down even the strong and mighty including ourselves. The poem ends by showing the shared destiny of the human race which is beyond anyone’s control.