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Compare and Contrast the news of London revised by William Blake and William Wordsworth in 'London' and 'Upon Westminster Bridge.'

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the news of London revised by William Blake and William Wordsworth in 'London' and 'Upon Westminster Bridge.' William Blake states in the first lines of his poem 'London' that the streets of London are 'charter'd'. A charter is a document giving rights and privileges to a person or organisation; for example, in William Blake's time, the King usually awarded charters to wealthy and powerful people in return for support or money. Blake uses the term 'charter' to mean 'full of privilege' as applying only to the rich, which contrasts with the lack of privileges that the poor and working class have. London has many large, beautiful and exquisitely crafted buildings, such as civic halls, museums and churches, which were principally frequented by rich people. This gives us a sense that the rich have power over the poor. The rights of the poor and working class, and the rights that Blake is interested in, are the rights that only the better off enjoyed. Richer people are much more noticed and recognised, and use their wealth and status to prolong their oppression of the poor. Blake describes how the nearby 'charter'd' Thames does flow. Here William Blake describes how the river Thames is 'full of privilege' yet once again only applying to the rich. ...read more.

Middle

Here Blake refers to the cries of the chimney sweeps, which was one of the most poorly paid and dangerous jobs in the Industrial Revolution. Children carried out chimney sweeping, as they were a suitable size to climb up chimneys. This tells us about the degree of poverty and just how people were desperate to earn money; such as leaning chimneys. Blake then describes how the Church appals, as it is 'Black'ned'. He refers to how each and every building; including holy monuments such as churches and perhaps the very Westminster Abbey that Wordsworth eulogises, have become blackened by the smoke and soot released from factories near by. It is not just that the Church has been blackened because of smoke and soot, but partly because of how the Church acts itself. A Church is not just seen as a place of worship but as a place where help and advice can be offered. The priests in the Church should be seen as pure people and are good helpers in times of need. Yet when people come to the priests and seek for advice and help, they shut their doors on them. The Church priests should be giving advice to those who come to their doorstep. ...read more.

Conclusion

Wordsworth addresses God and says that even the very houses seem asleep. He describes London as a person, with a heart. This is known as personification. He describes the houses being asleep but in fact he means that the people are asleep, as it is early morning. He concludes his poem by describing that the mighty heart is lying still, as it is still early morning. In an overall summary of each poem William Blake sees the negative side of London as a dark and bleak place and describes the people's lives and views as grim and downtrodden. On the other hand William Wordsworth sees the positive side of London and he tries to capture the beauty of the city. Both poems are the opposites of each other. I would say that both William Blake and William Wordsworth's ideas were realistic, but entirely from their own perspective and in that sense, the reader gains a somewhat false account by having confidence in either. It might have been better to have had two poems which both tackled positive and negative aspects of London, but that was not the case and we are left with these two diametrically opposed accounts. The fascination for us also lies in the realisation that two modern poets could choose their locations today and create poems of equally diverse views, just as these predecessors did. ...read more.

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