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Compare and Contrast the ways in which Blake and Wordsworth write about London, paying attention to the social and literary context of the poems.

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the ways in which Blake and Wordsworth write about London, paying attention to the social and literary context of the poems Both Wordsworth and Blake belong to the Romantic tradition. They each rely on their imagination and spontaneous instincts to create a piece of writing. A substantial amount of inspiration for their work coming from nature and the freedom of people. The poems, 'London' by Blake and 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge' by Wordsworth, illustrate classic Romantism but give very different expressions to the same ideals. Wordsworth views London sitting on Westminster Bridge at dawn. He personifies London and considers it human creation at its best. Wordsworth's romantic interest in nature helps him write such positive poetry. Blake gives a much more personal account of London, instead of seeing the beauty and nature of the city, as he is walking along the streets he only observes the pain and suffering of the people. Blake has a very bleak view of the city and implies that the human nature is being tortured and trapped. Blake believes that the people all have very stagnant futures and that the society is being ruined by prostitution and divorce. All of his emotions are portrayed through his poetry. ...read more.

Middle

The last line of the poem, 'And all the mighty heart is lying still,' is referring to the people of London, as they are the heart of it, they are what keep London alive. However they are not only the centre of London but also the centre of his own world and when the people are asleep, London, it seems to Wordsworth, is the most divine and perfect place in the whole world, which is contrasted by Blake as he believes that it is only when the people are awake that London is truly alive. The whole poem was written as a Sonnet, which means it is short and concentrated. Wordsworth employs the sonnet form because he wants to render a sketchy impression of London at a given moment, which was dawn. Another reason is that a Sonnet usually outlines one particular thought or feeling, which in this Sonnet is the majesty of London. This is also illustrated by the title, 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge,' which gives an effect of an idealistic, rather superficial but spiritual view of London. By contrast, Blake's, 'London' shows the inhumanity and cruelty under the surface of civilisation and imagination of man struggling against the 'mind-forged manacles' of convention, reason, and law. ...read more.

Conclusion

His poem is also mapped out, with four stanzas, each with four lines in them, which mirror the mental repression of the people London and their lives. Blake is wandering through the streets really noticing the real life of London, he sees it in a much bleaker view than Wordsworth's as all Blake sees is, 'marks of weakness, marks of woe.' The title is much more simple and real than Wordsworth's. The two poems have very contrasting endings: - In Wordsworth's poem the ending is of a picturesque view of London whilst the happy society is sleeping. But to contrast that, in Blake's poem, the ending is explaining that the society is going to die, it is degenerated by the images of the loss of innocence. The possibility of a future for the family structure is bleak, as it cannot survive on orphans and prostitutes. I conclude that despite their different concerns, 'London' and, 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge,' both belong to the romantic tradition. One voices the concern for the freedom of the people and for the oppressed classes, while the other one meditates on the grander element of London as an essential part of nature. Thus, Blake represents the rebellious romantic spirit pleading in the name of the people, and Wordsworth cares more for the spiritual aspect of life. By Lucie Cadd ...read more.

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