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Compare and Contrast the two poems London and Composed Upon Westminster Bridge

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the two poems 'London' and 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge' The poems 'London' by William Blake, and 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge' by William Wordsworth are vastly different. Both poets seem to be looking through a very polarised lens - William Blake's poem focuses on London's society, noticing only the ills; whilst Wordsworth, is blinded by the beauty of dawn over the landscape of the capital. It is interesting to see how the two poets, although living at the same time, and observing the same London, have come to hold such opposing views of the city. Perhaps the chief reason for the disparity between the two poems is the perspective of each poet. Although Blake's poem is written in first person, I feel it is more objective than Wordsworth's poem, as Blake does not directly demonstrate his own thoughts and feelings. This is because Blake himself is not experiencing the situations he describes - he 'hear[s]' people's cries, he 'mark[s]' the expressions of people's faces; he is not involved in the actions, but is merely observing critically and recording his views. ...read more.

Middle

At the time, women who wanted to remain respectable in society had to be chaste and were expected to be virgins at marriage. But that is not all - once married, there were only certain times when it was proper for couples to have sex, and even then, the only purpose was to have children. Men had to go elsewhere to satisfy their desires, and therefore, there was a great demand for prostitutes. Amongst all this immorality, Blake makes it clear that he feels the church, and other institutions, are failing in their roles to help alleviate society's problems. The 'blackening church appals' him. His choice of the word 'blackening' is fitting and effective - it can be interpreted both literally and metaphorically - the soot and polluted air of London during the industrial revolution would have left its ever darkening mark on Church buildings, whereas the blind eye that churches turned towards the state of London's impoverished reflected a moral 'blackening'. Another institution Blake condemns is the government, which, like the church, abandoned the people. He implies that it is divisive - how the monarchs are safe in the 'palace walls', protected by soldiers, isolated from the reality of London. ...read more.

Conclusion

. What Wordsworth seems to be conveying the most in his sonnet, however, is the life of the city. He uses anthropomorphosis to do this - 'The river glideth at his own sweet will' - even the river has life, and is happy and contented, just like the rest of London, gliding along gracefully. The city even has a 'mighty heart', proving even more that the city is alive and in motion, a constantly beating paradise. Conversely, Blake's London is hellish and soulless. The people are stifled, the city is black, and there is no hope for the future, just an endless torment. It is foreboding, almost apocalyptic. That fine, refreshing, morning, perched upon the bridge, Wordsworth did not want to see the ugliness of human activity. Overwhelmed by the beautiful scene and the perfect contentment he felt - all he wanted to do was record it. Blake, on the other hand, was frustrated and angry with the state of society. He was purposely walking the streets, so that he could see and propound all the wrongdoing that he saw. Both poets are verging on extremes - one is an optimist, the other a pessimist. While these two poems are vastly different, one famous proverb rings true; Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. ?? ?? ?? ?? Seema Syeda 11W ...read more.

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