What is the theme of "London" by Blake? and how is it similar to the theme of "The world is too much with us" by Wordsworth?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

William Blake uses dark imagery and discordant diction in "London" to reveal the theme of oppression.  The authority figures in the poem, the church, the soldier, the palace, do nothing to ease the suffering of the people within the poem, but rather reinforce the misery and the darkness of city life.  "London" is a picture of human suffering derived from the Industrial Revolution. 

Very similarly, Wordsworth's poem, "The World is Too Much with Us," also criticizes the evils of the Industrial Revolution. 

"The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;" (1-2)

The harsh realities of the world according to Wordsworth's poem reveal a world that has left nature behind; society is too focused on "getting and spending" (2).  The poem focuses on humanity's increasing materialistic values and subsequent neglect of nature.

"London" and "The World is Too Much With Us" both criticize the dangers inherent in Industrialization and the cost to humanity.