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Compare the use of poetry in the nineteenth century and the way in which it comments on its society's problems and attitudes.

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Introduction

Compare the use of poetry in the nineteenth century and the way in which it comments on its society's problems and attitudes. Poetry in the nineteenth century was widely used as a satirical way of commenting on the problems with the society. These problems included: public hangings and the way in which they encouraged crime rather than deterring it; the position of women and the way in which they could only survive in society by becoming prostitutes; the obsession with money which was more important than all else; finally the poverty in which the working classes lived while the rich, including the church, did not lift a finger to help them in any way. "A London F�te" by Coventry Patmore was written in 1853. This poem explains the effects of a public hanging on the people who witness it, and what they are encouraged to carry out afterwards, as they are in no way deterred by this form of punishment. It uses macabre and critical tone with a continuous irony making it very serious throughout. Using this tone it highlights the Victorian hypocrisy. The title of the poem is very ironic. A f�te is a festival and time of celebration and happiness, however in this poem a f�te is a public hanging which should not be a time of celebration but of consideration for the crimes which the culprit has committed. ...read more.

Middle

This interpretation enables the reader to see that gossip was acceptable in Victorian society even though the commandments tell them not to do this. The rhyming scheme is continuously in rhyming couplets such as "Thou shalt not kill: but needst not strive Officiously to keep alive:" The use of rhyming couplets shows the reader the hypocrisy of Victorian society in a poetical form, which is easy to understand, and also makes the poem more memorable for the reader. The last four lines of the poem include the most irony as they show that Victorians followed Jesus' teaching to love thy neighbour, but from this teaching took the interpretation that they should love God and their neighbours but never to love them more than they loved themselves. The poem, in this way, ends leaving the reader with the knowledge that the Victorian society is both hypocritical and extremely ironic. "London" by William Blake was written in 1791. The poem is concise and simple with the results that its message is easily understood and further emphasised. It criticises the condition of London, both for those in poverty, the children and many women. It is very explicit and mentions many problems with the Victorian society. The tone is very serious so that the message cannot be misinterpreted or simply ignored. ...read more.

Conclusion

A maid suggests a virgin and ruined suggests prostitution and so the poem begins with an ironic title to add to the message expressed in the poem. The poem uses metonymy to heighten its message. Metonymy can be found in "bright feathers three!" and this line shows the luxury and comfort in which the ruined maid now lives. There is a use of dialect words such as "thick oon" and "t'other" in order to accentuate the difference between the two girls even more. The poem uses rhyming couplets to add to the humorous and comic tone already present in the poem. These rhymes further highlight the difference between the good country girl and the high-class prostitute. Rhyming couplets are seen in "And now you've gay bracelets and bright feathers three!- Yes: that's how we dress when we're ruined, said she." This rhyme emphasises the metonymy further and heightens the difference between the girls even more. This poem uses metonymy and a humorous tone along with rhyming couplets to put across the point that prostitution rewards a girl and working hard in the country leaves a girl impoverished and uneducated. These entire poems show the hypocrisy of Victorian society by accentuating the problems of the society with the use of literary devices and a rhyming scheme. These poems use a variety of well known literary devices to emphasise the hypocrisy and irony of the Victorian society. Jess Bernardez Page 1 4/12/2008 ...read more.

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