بحث الهجاء الاجتماعي في قصيدة ( لندن) للشاعر وليم بليك
Social Satire in London's Poem
By: William Blake
بحث الهجاء الاجتماعي في قصيدة "لندن" للشاعر وليم بليك
تقدم به الاستاذ الباحث علي اسماعيل الجاف
Table of Contents
Definition of Satire
Definition of Satire
Johnson (1928: 178), in his dictionary "Literary Terms & Literary Theory", defines the word "satire" as a poem in which wickedness or folly is censured. It means, as Dryden claimed, the true end of satire was the amendment of vices. This poem has various themes.
But the satirist is thus a kind of self-appointed guardian of standards, ideals, and truth; of moral as well as aesthetic values. He is a man who takes it upon himself to correct the follies and vices of society and thus to bring contempt and derision upon aberrations from a desirable and civilized norm. Thus, satire is a kind of protest, a sublimation and refinement of anger and indignation. Satire is born of the instinct to protest, it is protest become art. (Ibid: 783)
Also, satire is a verse or prose blending a critical attitude with humour and wit. The purpose of satire is to ridicule frailties in human customs and institutions and, by causing laughter, to inspire their reform. (Dictionary of Literary Terms, P. 165)
Recent studies show that satire existed in the early classical literature of Greece and Rome, and persisted through the Middle Ages in beast epic (Steel Glass, 1975). The eighteenth century became a golden age of satire in poetry, drama, essays, and criticism, due to it causes fairly and highly developed civilization and culture (Lutin, 1674). This bred the satirists whose need and purpose was to protect this culture from abuse and corruption. In European literature, we see the social satire and satirists play an important role in keeping on by ridiculing and bringing scorn upon those who have impairment.
The aim of social satire is not to amuse, but to arise contempt. Also, the satirists, in England, tried to bring thoughts, ideas, and issues in a way that is called ridicule, but the inner meaning is criticism and serious statements of value or desired behaviour with an implicit of moral code. It deals with the system of morals and values through comparison, to show the similarity and contrast between two things. Social satire is aimed to expose human or institutional vices and in which a correlative is either implied or directly proposed.
Besides, it is a work or manner that blends attitude with humour and wit of improving human institutions or humanity. There is laughter not so much to tear down as to inspire a remodeling (Harmon, 1971: P. 461)
Thereafter, satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can be found in the graphic and performing arts. In social satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcoming are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individual, and society itself, into improvement. (1) Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon.
Satire and irony in some cases have been regarded as the most effective source to understand a society, the oldest form of social study. They are effective in exposing a society's structures of power and providing the keenest insights into its collective psyche and values. And in the 20th century, satire was used by such authors as Aldous Huxley and George Orwell to make serious commentaries on the dangers of the sweeping social changes taking place through Europe and United States. The film The Great Dictator (1940) by Charlie Chaplin is a satire on Adolf Hitler. (Sutton, 1993: P. 56)
The study finds that satire as a form of entertainment aimed at mocking social elements or things ... the usage of the word "marriage" that reflects inability, independence, and imprisonment as William Blake stated in his poem "London". He tries to mock and insult the institutionalized system to rebel and gain independence, so, the researcher's point of view towards "Marriage" is the beginning of the end; and this is a social satire or element that has been stated by wrong ideologies that you become prison of your own mind: "every voice in every ban". The repetition of the word "every" depicts the continuous suffering of every man in this universal.
From reading the poem, the study finds that Blake is aimless due to he depends on the situation of London people who are unable to get freedom of speech: "Marks of weakness, marks of woe." This reflects the condition of people that is unstable and shaky. So, the study points out that the government is restricted and straight and it controls the people movement rigidly.
Also, the concept of the government is that they need to exploit the children: "In every infant's cry of fear," So, the idea of investment reflects a social satire in a way that means working hard is the solution fro people to live properly. Besides, the time of the poem "London" was written during the times of the French Revolution and Blake showed his view of the 18th century.
The study would say that the poem "London" focuses on the social and political background of London and it reflects the differences in the wealth of the ruling classes and the poverty that faces the common man: "How the chimney-sweeper's cry."
Before, the poet uses a new satirical idea in his poem "London", he had tried to depict and describe the actual and real condition of the society at the time of capitalism and aggression as well as oppression. It is clearly shown in the usage of the word "hearse" in the last part of the poem: "And blights with plagues the Marriage-hearse." So, we could infer that there is a gloomy and sad image of marriage and death. It is a clear comparison that shows London people have no faith and hope in the future to build a family.
The study concludes that Blake was expressing the feelings of the society and their sufferings. The poem has mentioned and stated a message to be understood and the devices that are used to clarify the social problem (dilemma) of people.
The poet, William Blake, was a social critic of his time, yet his criticism also reflects society of our own time as well. He mainly communicates humanitarian concerns through a set of literary devices such as imagery and language, Blake protests against various forms of oppression resulting from humans in his poem "London"; which speaks about a slice of life in London times.
What appears to be a simple moral homily is actually Blake's subtle satire of child labour and organized religion. The chimney sweeper is a lesson in the protestant virtue of hard work and a means of gaining God's favour; but it is a subtle criticism of a system that allowed children to be sold into servitude in the hope that they will have eternal gratitude or happiness as a reward for their efforts. So, the study finds that it is this verse or poetry that is most overtly satirical: "So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm ...", but this means that children should endure all earthly harm content in the knowledge that they will enter into Heaven when they die.
Robert, C. Satire. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2004.
Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, 2007, PP. 11-17.
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