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Compare the ways in which London is Portrayed by William Wordsworth and William Blake

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Introduction

Compare the ways in which London is portrayed by William Blake and William Wordsworth The poets William Wordsworth, 1770 - 1850, and William Blake, who lived from 1757 to 1827, are both vividly known for their portrayals of London through their poems. William Wordsworth is known partly for his views on London, which are shown through his poem: "Composed upon Westminster Bridge"; Blake, however, lived a much less orthodox life and was largely unrecognised throughout his life, yet he too produced a wide array of poems which expressed his view on the city such as: "London" and "Holy Thursday". Both poets wrote during the Romantic Era that is also known as Romanticism; this era encouraged poets to write referring to the natural world and the specific aspects, which it presented, writers were forced to focus on conveying a clear sense of feeling through their literature. The poem "Composed upon Westminster Bridge" was written by William Wordsworth on September 3rd, 1803 and is a highly controversial poem in which he is seen expressing his views on London. It is clear from the outset and the title the mood in which Wordsworth is writing, "Composed" in the title contains a double meaning: to show that it has been written on Westminster Bridge, and the other meaning shows the "Composed" mood in which he was whilst writing and while he was looking over London; from this it is clear that Wordsworth was very open to how he would portray his view of London in the poem, and that he would be very calm through his expression. William Wordsworth lived for the entirety of his life in the Lake District, thus, when he wrote the poem he was only visiting London and his expression and opinion of London was based on his feelings and the way that the experience contrasted from where he actually lived, consequently his expression may have been biased towards London in that he is blinded and sees only the good aspects: "touching in its majesty"; "beauty"; "bright and glittering". ...read more.

Middle

large contrast between the way in which Blake and Wordsworth express their views as Wordsworth says "The river glideth at its own sweet will", this a pure contrast to Blake as Wordsworth is saying that the purity of the river is free flowing and the river expresses all of the goodness which London has, however, in "London" Blake uses the river to give an indication of how corrupt the country is becoming "Where the chartered Thames does flow". Therefore, this gives a clear idea to the extent at which Blake and Wordsworth have used language very differently in order to express and portray their views of London in "Composed upon Westminster Bridge" and "London". Another poem, which portrays a very vivid image of London, is "Holy Thursday" which was written by William Blake, this poem also follows Blake's pattern of portraying a negative image that was also shown in his other poem "London". In "Holy Thursday" one effect which William Blake has chosen use is thoroughly throughout the poem is the talk about the Church and of religious figures: "Grey headed beadles", which has been used to represent the Vicars, not only has Blake brought the subject of the Church up but he also chosen to comment on the way in which the Church has become corrupt, which is a common theme in "London" also. Blake talks about the people who are in control of the children who would be working at the liveried companies as "the aged men, wise guardians of the poor", through this Blake is explaining that these people should be guardians to the poor, the children, and that they should "cherish pity", look after the children and have pity for them. However, it is clear that Blake expresses that there is continuous sense that the children are "chartered" which is similar to the poem "London". In "London" Blake talks about "chartered street" and " every infants cry of fear", in "Holy Thursday" the children are forced to walk "two and ...read more.

Conclusion

Bridge', in this poem Wordsworth has written with a much more peaceful tone and with a tone which is much more pleasant than that used by Blake, it is written: 'All bright and glittering', through using this tone, he is creating a sense of much more peace and subtleness. Through writing in a tone with more peacefulness, Wordsworth is able to somewhat 'sugar-coat' his portrayal of London: 'never felt, a calm so deep!', with the tone and the description, he is able to make the poem seem a lot more positive than it would normally be seen, this contrasts from the tone which is used by Blake of grief: 'and his dark secret love, does his life destroy' with this tone, Blake is able to portray a much more negative view whereas Wordsworth uses the effect of changing the tone to create a much more positive portrayal. It can be seen very clearly through the various poems that have been written by William Blake and by William Wordsworth that there have been several different ways in which the portrayal of London has been given. Blake has generally chosen to give a much more bleak portrayal through varying the manner in which he has changed the imagery which he presents to the reader and the rhyme scheme and the language that he has used; this is similar to the way in which William Wordsworth has written whereby he had also used these techniques along with the ability to change the tone in which he writes in order to give a portrayal which has a much more positive outlook, he has been able to pick the metaphors he uses and is also able to select the type of punctuation he can include such as his uses of enjambment. Thus is clear that throughout the pieces of work that have been by Wordsworth and Blake, there has been a wide array of different ways in which London has been portrayed. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Neil Gujar ...read more.

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