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

comparing John Dryden(TM)s The Fire of Lond

Extracts from this document...


Compare two poems from the pre-1914 selection which use strong description and imagery. You should look closely at the language used. For this essay I will be comparing John Dryden's 'The Fire of London' that uses vivid description to portray the effect of the vicious fire on the helpless people of London; with Byron's 'Darkness' which conveys a apocalyptic image of the earth after the volcanic eruption of Tambora (1815). Both of the poems use apocalyptic imagery to convey a sense of doom and destruction as 'A dismal picture of the gen'ral doom' (Dryden) and 'The bright sun was extinguishe'd' (Byron), both of the poems are different as Dryden and Byron describe the destructive events on a different scale with Byron describing the eruption as all of God's creation being crippled by the events, Dryden however depicts only a small portion of the fire in his poem. In the first few lines of 'The Fire of London' Dryden expresses a sense of a ominous danger and uneasiness 'night came, but without darkness or repose' this expresses a sense of uneasiness as there is an inversion which emphasises the fact that things are unbalanced making the reader feel uneasy and suspicious. Dryden also expands on the sense of danger 'A dismal picture of the gen'ral doom', 'when the trumpet blows,' by doing this Dryden conveys the fact that all is not well by using the apocalyptic imagery ('gen'ral doom') which hints that the world will end soon due to the horrific fire. Dryden again tells us of the horrific nature of the disaster 'Souls... half unready with their bodies come.' This emphasises the fact that the disaster was very sudden and unexpected using words such as 'unready' and 'distracted.' Dryden also uses plosive sounds to give the first stanza a very bleak and dark tone for example 'dismal and doom'. At the start of 'Darkness' Byron creates a natural rhythm by using iambic pentameter which then alters its natural pattern to stress the abnormal ...read more.


We first see signs of how humans are dealing with it when Byron says 'sate sullenly' by saying this Byron implies that there is a breakdown of community and that the human race has been reduced to selfish individualism in a hope to survive. This shows how much the eruption has changed humans as they are normally kind, caring and selfless people but they have had to change in order to survive. We see another example of this 'gorging himself in gloom: no love was left', by saying 'gorging' Byron implies that the people are eating like ravenous beasts, whose first instinct is to survive and they will sacrifice anybody in order to achieve this, Byron says this' no love was left' again this is just one of the many times that Byron by using strong description hints that human nature has been changed as a result of this tragedy. As seen earlier in the poem Byron again implies that humans want a quick and painless death and although they may hope that they will survive they believe that they will not, 'all earth was but one thought and that was death immediate and inglorious', by describing the thought of not one but 'all earth' Byron is describing the thought of everyone thus showing the impact that the volcano has caused as people actually wish to die making the poem more tragic and horrifying. We the best example of Byron making the poem more horrifying and shocking, 'the meagre by the meagre were devour'd', Byron says that humans have resorted to cannibalism in order to survive. It is like humans have reversed to their primal instinct thus showing how desperate and deprived they are. It is almost like humans are lost and have forgotten who they are and what they meant to be as a result of the volcano. Byron by describing it in this way saying 'meagre' implies that they literally have no choice but to do it in order to survive. ...read more.


In the last sentence of 'Darkness', we see Byron describing the situation of the world by using nature and associating it with death. He also uses personification to highlight this as well, 'The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave, The moon, their mistress, had expired before'. This shows the strength of the disaster as it has not only destroyed living things and objects but has also thrown the whole universe into chaos as the forces of nature are being destroyed and they are in the end more powerful that any living thing or object. Therefore showing how much power the volcano must have possessed as now everything in its path is feeble and incredibly vulnerable. The final thought of the poem is a personification of all consuming darkness that has swept the world and is Byron's way of summing up his poem, Darkness had no need of aid from them -she was the universe. After looking and comparing both poems description and imagery, I have concluded that although both poems describe and illustrate disaster's that hurt and cause suffering to both humans and those alike, Byron however seems to focus more on the sheer scale and size of the eruption describing more of the destruction caused rather than the emotional side of things, 'The bright sun was extinguish'd'. Whereas Dryden depicts more of the emotional and the human frame of mind during the fire rather than the sheer destruction, 'instead of milk a falling tear'. A common theme throughout both poems is the use of metaphor to put across the feeling of the people or the scale of the disaster. Therfore the two poems 'Darkness' and 'Fire of London', are similar in that they both describe a life changing but also horrifying event but differ in the way that the writers have chosen to describe there event as one depicts the human impact whilst one depicts the destruction and scale of the particular disaster. ...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 Comparisons 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 Comparisons essays

  1. Characterisation - My Last Duchess

    This relates to the atmosphere and mood being different. In "Porphyria's Lover" the lover describes Porphyria's dead body as "little". Browning uses diminution here to portray the image of the lover having absolute control. After looking at the two poems, it is clear that the speakers have many similarities and differences.

  2. Comparing Blessing with Nothing's Changed

    This message is brought to the reader as the word brash means to lack sensitivity. The reader therefore is drawn to the conclusion that the poet feels that imposing their buildings, which may be followed by their culture, on the indigenous population is insensitive and unfair, allowing the reader to share in the poet's anger.

  1. Australian Bushrangers Essay. Banjo Patterson and Will. H. Ogilvie presents the two deaths ...

    'No safer place does the country hold' is extremely ironic as it is the very place Gilbert will be shot dead. 'He had sold them both to the black police for the sake of the big reward', Patterson uses the heavy irony to imply that the human nature of greed overrules the aspect of 'mateship'.

  2. Compare and contrast the way that murder, those who commit and the effect it ...

    Browning shows that the woman is proud of herself through lines such as 'You may kiss me, old man, on my mouth if you will!' She is mocking him and rewarding her sexuality throughout the poem. This demonstrates that the murder is through revenge and jealousy, and her intention is

  1. Compare and Contrast the depiction of London in Wordsworths Upon Westminster Bridge and Blakes ...

    Blake's version of London appears to be more enclosed and tedious, the way he presents it produces a city that is as far from the spontaneity of nature as can be.

  2. Compare and contrast the way John Clare and Coventry Patmoore portray their protests in ...

    However, another interpretation of Clare's use of the quote "the badger grins" is to make the badger seem happy despite what is being done to him this lends his character a sense of naivety, again creating sympathy for him. In 'A London Fete', Patmoore uses the same technique, the other way around.

  1. Sonnet Essay

    Shakespeare is attempting to defy time and make it last forever as his lover's beauty is "eternal": "So long as men can breathe and eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee." There are different interpretations to this ending.

  2. Pre 1914 Poetry

    In The third stanza the narrator gives his reason for shooting the supposed enemy which contrasts to the laboratory he justifies his reasons for the murder committed. The conversational style of the poem enables Hardy to repeat the word 'because', implying hesitation, and therefore doubt, on the part of the narrator.

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