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Compare London by William Blake, and 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge' by William Wordsworth

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Introduction

Compare London by William Blake, and 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge' by William Wordsworth In the late 18th century/early 19th century, there were many different events and changes going on in London. William Blake and William Wordsworth both wrote poems about London- however, their poems were very different. Each poet wrote from a different view. Blake, who had lived his life in London, criticised the city, focusing on the dark and terrible insider's perspective. Whereas Wordsworth, a tourist from the Lake District, praised, it and expressed his love for London. The focus of their poems may have been influenced by their backgrounds as Wordsworth was a visitor from the Lake District and Blake had been a Londoner all his life. They both wrote about London, but Blake looked inside the city and wrote about the people, whilst Wordsworth looked at the city from Westminster Bridge, but did not look inside of it. They both use different techniques to convey their feeling. Blake and Wordsworth had very different intentions whilst writing their poems. Wordsworth aimed to make London sound the best place in the world, "Earth has not anything to show more fair" this praises London and suggests that it is the most beautiful sight the world has to offer. It is also a hyperbole as it is a very bold statement used to draw readers in and engage them. The word "fair" is feminine and ladylike, and suggests that Wordsworth is comparing the city to a lady, to make it sound more delicate. ...read more.

Middle

Another colour used in his poem is red. He mentions blood, 'And the hapless soldiers sigh runs in blood down palace walls'. Blood, which is obviously red, symbolizes pain and suffering throughout London. Also, it could be referring to the soldiers that were sent to war by Prince Regent. When the soldiers returned from war they would have to fend for themselves. There were many protests about the war when people would graffiti the palace walls to express their views. In 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge', Wordsworth makes exclamations. 'Dear God! The very houses seem asleep;' this shows that he is so shocked and amazed by the beauty of London, he cries it out. It also shows he is really deeply touched by the city. Also, Wordsworth uses assonance to show the mood of his poem. The words Hill, Will and Still are all very serene words. Wordsworth uses them to create a sense of tranquillity in the poem, and to show the calmness of the city. In Blake's poem 'London', he uses the repetition of the word 'every'. Repeated in three out of four lines in the second stanza, the word 'every' creates a sense of monotony and suggests that everyone is trapped in the same position. Also, Blake uses monosyllabic words such as cry, curse, tear and ban in his poem to continue the monotony. The use of these words also makes the London feel more restrained. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, the word 'every' suggests that all churches are the same. 'Runs in Blood down palace walls' In 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge', there is no sound mentioned. Wordsworth states that London is 'Silent' which adds to the tranquillity of the city. On the other hand, Blake writes about the negative sounds he hears as he walks through London. 'Soldiers Sigh' 'Cry of Fear', these are all very negative sounds that are linked to pain and suffering. This shows that the people of London were depressed and fed up of the corruption and living in poverty. If people are crying of fear this suggests that there is something to be very afraid of. Perhaps it's the physical effects of poverty causing them to cry, or the emotional effects frightening them as they know they are trapped and cannot escape. Blake writes about different people in his poem to criticise London. "How the youthful harlots curse". Here Blake is talking about the problem with prostitutes. The legal age of consent was thirteen. The word 'curse' suggests sexually transmitted diseases, and shows that these girls as young as thirteen are cursed with STD's and are passing them around. It could also literally mean they are swearing and cursing. Also, Blake writes about children crying "In every infant's cry of fear". This instantly creates sympathy for the use of 'infant' makes the reader feel sorry for the child. It makes the poem more powerful because it makes the reader feel guilty that the infant is crying because it is suffering in poverty and nobody is doing anything to stop it. ...read more.

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