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Surely, Shakespeare is wicked, the map a bad example,
With ships and sun and love tempting them to steal –
For lives that slyly turn in their cramped holes
From fog to endless night ? On their slag heap, these children
Wear skins peeped through by bones and spectacles of steel
With mended glass, like bottle bits on stones.

(a) Why is Shakespeare described as wicked?
(b) Explain: 'from fog to endless night'.
(c) What does the reference to 'slag heap' mean?

Answer

a) Shakespeare is described as wicked because the beautiful world depicted by Shakespeare is denied to the slum children.

b) The poor slum children are subjected to a life of misery and hopelessness and extreme poverty.

c) Their emaciated wasted bodies are compared to slag (waste) heaped together. He returns to their thin, malnourished bodies, stating that they, “wear skins peeped through by bones.”