The poem describes the city of London at the end of XVIII century, during the industrial revolution. Every place is chartered , from the streets to the Thames.
The poet uses the metaphor of the "mind forg'd manacles" with 2 different meanings. The first one means that the imprisonment is not only physical, but also mental and second one represents the society that imprisons with a rational organisation.
The new order made the people sad by their lives marked by woe and sorrows.
The poet repeats the word "every" to symbolize that no one can escape. He also uses the capital letter for some words: Man, Infant, Chimney Sweeper, Soldier and Harlot. He wants to reflect the human generality: all these people are victims of the effects of the industrial revolution.
He also appoints 3 institutions: Church, Palace and Marriage. Every one of these institutions is represented in a negative way because they are corrupted.
The poem has a melancholy and anxious tone the defines the miserable conditions of people.
Blake has a critical aim.