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Compare the ways in which william wordsworth and williams blake describe london in their essays "London" and "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge"

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Introduction

Compare the ways in which William Blake and Williams Wordsworth describe London and its effects on them in their poems "Composed upon Westminster Bridge" and "London" Both "Composed" and "London" are pre 1914 romantic poetry however differ on how they are influenced by romanticism. Romanticism was a fairly new type of poetry and was developed in the 18th century and used mostly in late 18th and early 19th centuries; ideas of romanticism include: the celebration of the lower class, an idyllic world, the importance of nature, faith opposed to organised religion and freedom of expression. Blake was known as the father of romanticism and his writing is both dark (when talking about society) but beautiful (when talking about nature). Wordsworth on the other hand saw romantic ideas and beauty everywhere (including society). Life in the 18th century was all about change and revolution; some people were being more open on their views of organised religion and other areas of society - thus influencing romanticism. "Composed" is a poem about Wordsworth's positive appreciation of London; Wordsworth grew up in Yorkshire - a land full of nature and beautiful countryside: the romantic idea of an idyllic world. ...read more.

Middle

The poem "London" by Blake however has a completely different purpose and is written to show that society does not express hope, romantic ideas and is in fact corrupted and full of deception. Blake uses the poem to show how society manipulates nature and faith as shown in the quotation "Every blackening church appals;" This represents how religion has been manipulated by society and is now evil unlike faith that is true and honourable. The romantic view of organised religion is that it toys with people to make them believe that they believe in God, taking away their freedom and the purity of faith and religion. Blake has always lived in London and craves freedom and an escape from what he perceives a political and oppressed society. The differences between the purposes can be clearly defined and explained, as it is not solely the views of the poets that make their poems it is also, their positions in life and London; their state of mind; experiences and previous encounters with the city and the time of day. Wordsworth uses the structure of "Composed" to further replicate freedom in London: as the poem is a sonnet (representing society and London - what most believe as ruled and structured) ...read more.

Conclusion

During the fourth stanza Blake suggests that the actions that people are making now will create problems for the next generation. "Youthful harlot's curse" symbolises the sins of the youth creating a "curse": a word this is often used in association with witches. These sins cause "the newborn infants tear" which further exemplifies future problems the next generation will have to deal with and fix due to mistakes made by the youth of the time. The curse in stanza four is also shown by the "plagues" and the "marriage hearse" which indicates death. In the case of the "marriage hearse" this creates a link between eternity and death destroying aspects of hope and proving the impurity of the city. Blake uses imagery, alliteration and language choice to illustrate his portrayal of London; using these skills he opens the open up to his reader inviting them to have their own interpretations. The differences are very apparent between the poems and there are clear divides of attitude; the state of mind of the poets; and how society affects them. Romanticism and industrialisation are key elements in both poems however are showed in immensely different ways. Blake remains negative due to the changes that have taken away romanticism; Wordsworth however keeps positive indicating clear elements of hope. ...read more.

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