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Compare and contrast the ways in which the two poems represent London - Blake's 'London'y and "Charter'd".

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Introduction

Will Taylor 12G1 ENGLISH ANTHOLOGY Compare and contrast the ways in which the two poems represent London. In Blake's 'London' the visual images portrayed give a vivid sense of melancholy and oppression. "Charter'd" is used in lines one and two to describe the Thames River to suggest that the river is trapped and restricted like the people in London. The same word is used to describe the streets of London, which means the streets are both regimented and futureless under the state suppression but also that they are claustrophobic and stifling. It also relates to "charters" which were given to cities or corporations, which granted them monopoly privileges, reducing the freedom of the people. The line "Every black'ning Church appalls" related to the corruption of the Anglican Church at the time, as it overlooked child exploitation and did not act. The blackness of the church is associated with the "Chimney-sweeper's cry" in the previous line. "The hapless soldier's sigh / Runs in blood down palace walls" refers to the British soldiers who were both agents for the monarchical oppression and were themselves victims of the oppression. ...read more.

Middle

The "mind-forg'd manacles" represent the notion that the oppression is caused by fear, selfishness and despair and is the fault of the people themselves because they have not resisted. The repeated use of the word "mark" demonstrate both "marks" of suffering and distress the people are suffering but on another level, they are also associated with the 'Mark of the Beast', or Antichrist from the New Testament in the Bible. Many dissenters saw the rule of the rich powerful commercial interests as the rule of the Antichrist. There is an absence of human figures in Wordsworth's "Westminster Bridge" and instead the focus is on the scenery and the place itself. This is the main reason for the tranquil aura of the London morning that Wordsworth describes, with no human activity to disturb the graceful calm. However, through personification, Wordsworth conveys the beauty of the city, the river, and the landscape. "This City now doth, like a garment, wear/The beauty of the morning" uses both personification and a simile to describe the serene nature of London in the morning and at the same time providing an insight into the transient nature of London, as the atmosphere of the city changes at different stages of the day, much as a "garment" could be. ...read more.

Conclusion

The melancholic words such as "woe", "weakness" and "cry" and in particular the repeated use of "marks" in the first stanza, create a sense of destitution. Blake's poem is structured in a methodical and measured tone, in keeping with the depressing tone of the poem. It is written in to a steady beat in four stanzas, with most lines conforming to iambic tetrameters. This, together with a regular rhyme scheme, symbolises there is no escape for the people of London. In the first two stanzas, Blake makes generalisations of the people of London such as "in every cry...in every voice", but in the final two stanzas he concentrates on the suffering of individuals within London. Wordsworth's "Westminster Bridge" is altogether more positive and uses more flamboyant language to reflect his enthusiastic attitude to what he sees. An unusual aspect of this poem is that it is written in the form of a Petrarchan sonnet, a style predominantly used in poetry of a romantic nature. In the first octave of the poem, emphasis is placed on the physical impressions Wordsworth is given and there is a celebratory tone. In the remaining sestet, Wordsworth details his emotional response to the inspiring surroundings, using a gentle rhythm to bring the poem to a close. ...read more.

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