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A comparison between Blake's 'London' and Wordsworth's'Westminster Bridge'

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Introduction

A comparison between Blake's 'London' and Wordsworth's 'Westminster Bridge' William Blake was born in London in 1757. He was taught by his mother at home, and became an apprentice to an engraver at fourteen. In addition to poetry Blake spent much of his time painting. Blake lived on the edge of poverty and died in neglect. His poetry receiving little acclaim while he was alive. 'London' was written by Blake in 1789. Taken from Blake's 'Songs of Experience', the style is darker and in a sense depressing. It describes the city after the Industrial Revolution. Blake takes a very negative and hopeless view of the city and the lives of those living within it. He hated the way London was becoming, looking negatively on business and materialism. Blake felt himself as free, and the poem is a comment on others living in London. ...read more.

Middle

In the second stanza Blake describes the whole scale of humanity from infant to man to feel general disgruntlement with the life that London inflicts upon them. 'Ban' suggests restricted or prohibited. Blake however suggests that men have in a sense designed their own prison, implying this by use of 'mind-forg'd manacle'. He describes infants who cannot speak but are nonetheless born under the chains, which Blake suggests society has needlessly inflicted upon itself. Again he creates effect by the repetition of 'every'. Blake goes on in the third stanza to comment ok the use of child labour under appalling conditions, attacking the church as it ignores the cries of the chimney sweep. He is disgusted with this practice and appeals against it and effectively shows the church to be appalled by the cries of the complaining chimney sweeps. He describes the church as 'blackening', which illustrates the industrialisation of the church. ...read more.

Conclusion

It goes on to tell of a married couple looking down upon her for what she does in order to make a living. This is ironic because the business of prostitution is caused in part by the restrictions placed upon the married man. It is also ironic because the married man is what has created the need for, and use of prostitutes. The harlot curses the respectable and polite society because it is they who have created the demand for her, and then look down upon what she does. 'Blights with plagues' implies that perhaps she also infects them with some sort of sexually transmitted disease, conceivably as a type of vengeance upon those who shun her. The final words of the poem, "Marriage hearse" compares marriage to death. The narrator sees marriage as another type of restriction placed upon man by society, marriage is a sort of death in man's ability to be free to do as he wishes. ?? ?? ?? ?? Alexander Phillips ...read more.

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