• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare the different views of London presented by the two poets. Refer closely to the text in your answer. 'London' by William Blake and 'A View From Westminster Bridge' by William Wordsworth.

Extracts from this document...


Compare the different views of London presented by the two poets. Refer closely to the text in your answer. The poems 'London' by William Blake and 'A View From Westminster Bridge' by William Wordsworth were both written around the turn of the 19th century. Both describe London in very different ways, highlighting the aspects of London's alter ego. Blake's poem is a scathing attack on both the city and its inhabitants. In contrast, Wordsworth's poem reflects the aesthetical value of the scene. The craft employed by the poets helps to reflect the difference in tone between the two poems. In Blake's poem, London is brutally painted as a dark, dirty, disease ridden and deprived place. He does this by describing the people who live in this 'hapless' city and the 'mind forged manacles' that bind the people to their lives of misery. Wordsworth's poem describes a scene in the early morning of the view from Westminster bridge .It uses grandiose imagery to describe the '...beautiful' '...majesty' of the city and praises both nature and man's achievements, and how they can co-exist harmoniously 'the beauty of the morning; silent, bare, /ships, towers, domes, theatres'. ...read more.


In contrast nowhere in the Blake poem does he use direct speech to heighten any of the emotions. Wordsworth's poem uses words like 'glideth' and 'smokeless air' to give a sense of calm tranquillity to his words. This makes me feel peaceful and almost sleepy as the words flow along in an almost dreamlike fashion. William Blake's poem conveys his feelings in a more abstract style, when he uses the people of London to represent the institutions, which they are associated with. He says 'the hapless soldier's sigh runs in blood down palace walls.' Here he is criticising the monarchy and government for condemning young men to death by sending them off to fight in foreign wars. It is obvious from words such as 'woe' and 'appals' that Blake is disgusted with what he sees in London. The reader would undoubtedly feel great pity for the people of London at this time. The poets use different symbolism to convey their ideas to the reader. Wordsworth shows his feelings for London in a figurative way. He personifies the sun, river and the city. ...read more.


The last line uses the image of a 'marriage hearse' being blighted by 'plagues.' This image in my opinion is the sexually transmitted disease. Both poems show very different feelings towards London. You would have to compare them to other texts of the time to see which is more accurate though I believe it is Blake's poem. If I had to pick which I preferred I would choose the Blake poem. Wordsworth's poem is indeed very beautiful and profound in its testament towards the beauty of London in the early morning. But Blake's poem has a deeper meaning as with the imagery of the sexually transmitted disease. It also describes London from the eyes of its people whereas Wordsworth's poem only speaks of the 'beauty of the morning' and no people are mentioned anywhere. So where Wordsworth is perhaps looking at the scenery with rose-tinted spectacles or hankering after a by-gone age, Blake depicts the reality of the newly industrialised London and all its woes. I believe this is the main defining difference between the poems and that this contrast makes it very difficult to rate one above the other as their strengths lie in different places. Emlyn Roberts Pluto 10x 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE William Blake section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE William Blake essays

  1. Compare and contrast the different images of London contained in the two poems 'London ...

    married couples are doomed right from the start because of this 'Harlot's curse'. There is nothing positive anyone could draw from the above quote, and the same can be said about the final part of 'London Snow'. "For now doors open, and war is waged with the snow; And trains

  2. How Does William Blake convey his anger in the poem ' London'

    The imagery that Blake uses in 'London' appeals mostly to the hearing senses. This is as he repeats the words that are associated to the hearing senses, such as the word 'cry'. The imagery that Blake uses is furthur emphasised by the continuous repition of him hearing the 'man's' and the 'infant's cry', 'in every' street that he 'wanders thro'.

  1. Three different poets' views of London.

    Personification is used to describe inanimate objects as though they were alive, such as the sun which is an effective simile.

  2. ‘Compare and Contrast the ways in which cities and city life are portrayed in ...

    Blake felt that London was a centre of trade and commerce but that there were a number of things wrong with the city. Some of these were child labour such as chimney sweeps and prostitution. Eliot creates a positive image of Paris in the first few lines with such as

  1. Comparing Two Poems - Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth; In a London Drawing-room by ...

    he is the only person awake and is looking upon everyone else but when the speaker proceeds to say "heart is lying still" it further emphasizes this idea and suggests that maybe everything is frozen and the idea of the city being a human is taken literally.

  2. Pre-1914 Poetry: Coursework Essay This essay will analyse, compare and contrast London by William Blake ...

    In the second stanza, Blake repeats the words "In every" in the first three lines, trying to add to the effect of the almost horrific images and sounds that he can see and hear.

  1. How do selected poets use language to create a sense of place? You should ...

    "At length the crackling noise and dreadful blaze" The word 'crackling' is onomatopoeia because the way it is said is how it sounds; the fire was a series of crackles. When the fire first began, everyone in the city of London was asleep.

  2. Compare and Contrast "London" by William Blake and "IslandMan" by Grace Nichols. Consider How ...

    Even though he did not have a solution to the problems, he wanted people to face up to the problems and try to work together to make their society a better place. Main Criticism of "London" Title Blake chose the simple title "London" to engage his reader's interest about their capital city.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work