William Blake: Songs of Experience- A Marxist response
Marxism focuses on the political and economic philosophy in which the concept of class struggle plays a central role in understanding society’s allegedly inevitable development. This development focuses on the departure from bourgeois oppression which is under the rule of a capitalist society to that of an ultimately classless society. William Blake wrote of social consciousness with the will to change society; one that lived their lives in excess and classes played a mammoth part in the social hierarchy. Blake’s views can be considered to be Marxist despite the blue print from Marx’s views not being present at the time. Nevertheless, it would be erroneous to suggest that the ideas of Marx aren’t present in Blake’s literary work, as the anti- class ideas are highly prominent. Songs of experience shows how the human spirit withers after being suppressed and forced to conform to the rules and doctrines in society; much alike the work of Karl Marx.
William Blake’s ‘London’ epitomises the prominent focus on a strong Marxist belief; “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains”1 . Blake immediately addresses this fundamental concept, through the use of “marks of weakness, marks of woe”. It is an example of hyperbolic Marxist propaganda, as the proletarians are demanded and taken for granted. Blake uses the adjectives ‘weakness’ and ‘woe’ in order to portray the fatigue due to exploitation. Marx mentions the working class being ‘chained’, an action that metaphorically portrays the control of the people of the state. “Mind forg’d manacles” has been utilised by Blake very cleverly in order to manipulate Marx’s idea on the chains. Blake believed that an uphold of the evil through the resolution of communism would abolish all of the unfairness and struggle in present life. The ‘manacles’ represent the chains that have been used for control and manipulation in the ‘cuffing’ of the minds by society. It...
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