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In what ways do Blake and Wordsworth present London ?

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Introduction

In what ways do Blake and Wordsworth present London ? "London" by William Blake and "Composed upon Westminster Bridge" by William Wordsworth both describe the city of London in their poems. Although the capital is the central theme in both poems, it is for contrasting reasons. Both poems were written in the 18th century and illustrate London as a diverse place. In his poem, Blake shows the negative side of London and despair of the people, whereas Wordsworth's poem is less insightful and describes the beauty of the city and its buildings. Both poets use various techniques to convey their ideas and feelings about London. From the beginning both of the poems communicate different ideas about London. The tone in "London" is bitter and resentful, concentrating on the suffering of the people. This is evident through strong imagery such as "cry of every man" or "marks of woe." Blake expresses his anguish and despair about the situation of people in London; he describes them as being trapped in the political system and unable to change their lives. ...read more.

Middle

Wordsworth looks at London with respect and awe, whereas Blake states his hatred and disgust for the city. Although there is a clear diversity between the poems, there are some similarities. Both Blake and Wordsworth feel very passionate what they are writing about. Wordsworth wants to articulate his appreciation of the city, whereas Blake wants to raise awareness about its decline. Both of the poets are honest about their view of life in London, and the reason why their perspectives are so different is due to their background. Blake, having grown up in London is conscious about the problems and inequality within the city, whereas Wordsworth, who was brought up in the country side, is not faced with the same problems as Blake. This is a fundamanetal difference in their perception of the capital. Both Wordsworth and Blake use the pronoun "I" to make the poem more personal and emotional. Wordsworth and Blake both use a variety of poetic techniques to achieve a specific atmosphere in their poems. Blake employs figurative language to sustain the idea of inequality within society in "London". ...read more.

Conclusion

Wordsworth, on the other hand, writes his poem as a sonnet. The one stanza suggests unity and harmony between people as well as nature. Although Wordsworth also uses a regular rhyming scheme, in this case it is not to create a second meaning to the poem, like Blake, but to create a tranquil tone to the poem. Both poets use the same technique to achieve different experience to their poems. The two poets react to London in completely different ways. Blake's uses of language and poetic techniques not only raise awareness of the political situation but also encourage people to change it. He portrays the harshness of reality at the time, whereas Wordsworth creates a world of illusion where everything is perfect. Both poems present London from a subjective point of view; Blake's reaction deals with the melancholy of the inhabitants, whereas Wordsworth is not troubled by the people within London and concentrates on the beauty of the capital. Blake's poem enables us to realise the gravity of the situation at the time and the view of the working class, whereas Wordsworth's poem shows us the perspective of the prosperous classes that Blake appears to be criticising in his poem. ...read more.

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