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Compare and contrast Blake and Wordsworth's view of London

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Introduction

Compare and contrast Blake and Wordsworth's view of London The poets Blake and Wordsworth both wrote poems about England's capital city, London. The poets themselves each came from different backgrounds which may have influenced their view of London. Wordsworth was born and brought up in the Lake District and spent the majority of his life there, which may have led him to concentrate on the natural features of London. In contrast Blake was more aware of the industry and poverty of the capital City. He had lived all his life in London, receiving little formal schooling and even witnessing the death of his brother from consumption. Wordsworth's poem "Composed upon Westminster Bridge" presents a calm and relaxed view looking across the water and the city. He writes about what he sees and views London as a majestic royal palace. Wordsworth reflects upon his subject with deep felt emotion, seeing it as a spiritual place of peace. "Dull would be the soul who could pass by, a sight so touching in its majesty". ...read more.

Middle

This style is mainly used in 'love' poetry. This structure emphasises the way Wordsworth concentrates on the physical aspects Wordsworth views around him. One line flows into another in an informal way. It is descriptive and reflective but does not attempt to look beyond the outward appearance "all bright and glittering in the smokeless air". Wordsworth as a rich man, the son of a lawyer, views London on face value. He looks down upon the city from his lofty position unaware of the poverty below. His tone is full of grandeur "earth has not anything to show more fair". He feels moved in his spirit and in harmony with his environment. Wordsworth's tone is full of wonder, focusing on the magnificent buildings and seeing the city itself as a living being full of emotion. Blake expresses his feelings of frustration and sadness. He describes "chartered" streets and "chartered" Thames, which emphasises how everything has been taken over and oppressed. He comes from a lower middle class background; the son of a hosier and the tone of this poem expresses his awareness of the poverty around him "marks of weakness, marks of woes". ...read more.

Conclusion

In contrast Blake uses sharp sounds which are onomatopoeic in nature - "blasts", "curse", "cry". He uses a strong heavy rhythm emotive of the oppression felt with repetitive force "and mark in every face I meet, marks of weakness, marks of woe". The tone of Wordsworth's poem is soft and lilting "a sight so touching", "a calm so deep". This is set against the harsh cry of Blake's London. The approach used by these two writers promotes a different response from the reader. Wordsworth's flowery imagery encourages a warm view of London. He is optimistic in his approach, concentrating as he does upon the immediate sights and sounds of a peaceful morning scene. Blake however conjures up a feeling of misery for the plight of the people of London locked in a prison of poverty which he blames on the "establishment" who have no care for their situation. Blake concentrates on social injustice, perhaps borne out of his own upbringing, whilst Wordsworth seems unaware of anything but the natural beauty of the environment and not its inhabitants. Two seemingly different views of one city seen from varying perspectives. ...read more.

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