Through out this poem we see the theme of:


innocence taken away


"mark of weakness, mark of woe"

-"Marks" has a double meaning:

  • it could show the metaphorical scars, left by the controlling, oppressive system which is making the Londoners vulnerable. Especialy the male of the house as they often came from very large poor families so would have high pressure put on them to provide for the family, they bring in the main income.
  • This could also mean the physical/ visible  marks left behind from illness  or deasese, this was very common in this centery due to the fact that they knew very little about medicen. Further more the poverty-stricken majority of the population would have had a skimpy, poor and monotonous diet which would have barely kept them alive, let alone healthy.
  • we also know that the police system was  full of corruption leading to the law being injustice. 
  • the sense that every body, regardless of age, is living in this dystopian city

-“Weakness” and “woe” creates a semantic field of suffering.

"in every cry of every man in every infants cry of fear in every voice: in every ban"

-The sense that every body, regardless of age, is living in this dystopian city.

-Powerful repetition of ‘every’ and ‘cry’ develops the sense that Blake’s London is a tortuous and agonizing place in which to live.

-The lines are structured to constitute a list, building up a picture of an abundance of suffering.

-The theme of suffering is evident here, but blake illustrates that the city is very polluted and it is affecting the lives of the people living there.

-It could also suggest the ‘rarity’ of a man crying and how this would have been unheard of in the middle ages, linking the weakness this man might feel as do ‘infants’.

-The church and the government, for exampleshould be innocent of wrongdoing but, strangely, are guilty of taking innocence away from children and




This is a great revision source - especially when you want to explode quotes! However you have spelt 'poverty' wrong... you put 'povity'