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Compare and Contrast the depiction of London in Wordsworths Upon Westminster Bridge and Blakes London

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the depiction of London in Wordsworth's 'Upon Westminster Bridge' and Blake's 'London' Wordsworth traditionally wrote poems of a rural theme, focussing particularly on nature and the natural world; this can be related to the fact that he spent most of his life living in the Lake District and so it is a little unusual for Wordsworth to have written a poem based on London. It was written on what he saw as he passed by London on his way to Dover and shows his perception of London from Westminster Bridge. Many would argue that since he didn't look deeper into London and see the downside of the city life, that his poem creates an outlook on London that would more commonly be associated with tourists as opposed to Londoners. Blake on the other hand, is a Londoner, and his view on London seems darker and casts a rather gloomy image about the place. The poems were only written four years apart from each other, and there is no strong evidence to suggest that such a large change occurred between the two dates that the poems were written. ...read more.

Middle

Whereas nature is unstructured and a bit wild, London is 'charter'd' and almost monotonous in its layout. This idea of a structured London then leads Blake onto the thought of imprisonment, how the entrapped people of London are 'prisoners' of their own city. "In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forged manacles I hear." Here Blake seems to suggest that the residents of London are subject to their own captivity, that its not just a few people that are restricted by boundaries of London, but that everybody is. It could be perhaps that the tedium and horror of everyday London life becomes a burden upon the inhabitants so much so that it almost acts as a different style of imprisonment. He appears to suggest that the diseased and impoverished lifestyle that they all lead will ultimately end in mental anguish and inability to be free. Blake effectively uses repetition throughout the poem, particularly in the first and second stanza to help create his dark and dreary interpretation of life in London. In the first stanza, the word 'charter'd' is used twice, perhaps due to a lack of other suitable words that would help deliver his point successfully, though it is more than likely that repetition was intentionally used to serve the purpose of help create the monotonous lay out of London. ...read more.

Conclusion

The proceeding twelve lines, although served a purpose of their own, appear to be building up to a short two-worded phrase that perfectly sums up the whole of Wordsworth's attitude towards the city. The exclamatory punctuation seen at the end of 'Dear God!' gives the impression as being the climax of the whole poem. This is then followed up in the last line and a half, by a prevailing mood of peace and contentment, alas 'that might heart is lying still'. The impressions that both poets aim to make are entirely different, a factor that is reflected in the type of language used. Wordsworth, who seeks to describe the sense of majestic freedom that he saw in London, uses only positive diction; never a bad word about London is uttered so as not to spoil his image of grandeur. In comparison, Blake, who seeks to express his disgust in the nature of London and the lifestyle that is lead within its boundaries, uses only negative language and never an optimistic word is written. In reality, the truth is probably somewhere in between these two representations, though through the biased eyes of these two poets, the true variation that London has to offer is displayed magnificently. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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