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Essay on William Blake's "London" and William Wordsworth's "Composed upon WestminsterBridge, September 3, 1802"

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Introduction

Essay on William Blake's "London" and William Wordsworth's "Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802" The Romantic poets, Blake and Wordsworth have both produced a poem on the city of London. Blake's version shows a more dark and sombre vision of the city, whereas Wordsworth's poem illustrates a more positive view, one where London is a city of 'majesty'. Wordsworth, like many of the other Romantic poets of the time, wrote being influenced by a love of nature. This ardour is present in his poem in the forms of rich adjectives, the use of enjambments, and poetic word structures. However, Blake, although a fellow Romantic, chooses to depict London as if it were a bleak and corrupted place. ...read more.

Middle

This could suggest that we are not individuals, as we are all together in this cry for help. To extend this further, he is also protesting against the shallowness of those who are ignorant of the unfortunate. He uses 'infant' to gain sympathy from the readers for those who are mistreated by the wealthy (for instance, the monarchy and the church, as cited in his poem) and the use of the term 'youthful harlot' also seems to suggest that the city has no regards to those who, though young, have to work for a living in such an appalling way. From a working-class background himself, Blake is able to empathize with the deprived, and therefore understand their sufferings from a similar viewpoint. Blake believes that the people living in the tainted city are also dying. ...read more.

Conclusion

Though both poems are biased and only show one view of London, I find that Blake's poem, though dark and negative, produces a more convincing view of London, especially considering the era of the literature. In the revolutionary period, London was indeed a place of pollution and shallowness to which Blake emphasises with rhetorical devices (such as the repetition of several emotive and powerful words). Because of its excessive optimism, Wordsworth's poem is more attractive than Blake's poem. The use of strong, buoyant language is appealing and creates a more positive view of London for the reader. In comparison to "London", by Blake, "Upon Westminster Bridge" portrays a very beautiful city, as if it were almost a fantasy. Blake's vision of London is more realistic, which may be a reason for readers to feel that Wordsworth poem (due to its fictional-like nature), is more attractive. Lena Tran: LELI1 ...read more.

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