Choose two poems in the Edexcel anthology and show how successfully the poets have expressed a response to the society in which they live in.
The content of a poem can refer to the society in which the poet lived in and can be highly representative of the poets’ emotions and views toward society. The poems ‘London’ by Blake and ‘Prayer before birth’ by MacNeice will be closely examined.
In the poem ‘London’ the foremost theme present is the corruption of society. In the first stanza Blake refers to sadness and melancholy being experienced by society “mark in every face I meet marks of weakness, marks of woe” this illustrates the oppression faced by individuals in Blake’s society. The significance of repeating the word ‘mark’ indicates a permanent affect on society and how these ‘marks’ will remain eternally.
Blake uses an anaphora with the words ‘In every’ to emphasise that everyone is affected by governments actions and by leaders. ‘Mind-forg’d manacles I hear’ The strong use of imagery illustrates how society metaphorically have chained people in following what they want and doing what they want, diminishing the purpose of the ‘democratic’ society in which we are supposed to be living in. The fact that people are chained down emphasises how there is little freedom and society have to follow what governments say to be accepted.