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Explore how Blake and Wordsworth present different attitudes towards London within their two poems.

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Introduction

Explore how Blake and Wordsworth present different attitudes towards London within their two poems. Blake's poem 'London' and Wordsworth's poem 'Composed on Westminster Bridge' at first glance present London in contrary ways. Figuratively, Blake's London resembles the dark depths of an underground chamber that is isolated from the beauty of nature and instead is claustrophobically filled with Blake's clever metaphor: "mind forged manacles", which indicates the restraint and slavery of the poor. Wordsworth however has a much brighter view of London; he takes you to the top of Westminster Bridge, one of the few bridges in that day that acted as a crossing of the Thames. From here Wordsworth watches as the city wears the sunlight 'like a garment' and tells us it as nothing short of majestic beauty. In Blake's poem 'majestic beauty' is replaced by the cries of man and infant, chartered streets and blights of plagues. Little can be said to warmly describe the city of London when attempting to take from Blake's poem. The message from his poem is clear: London is no more than a hollow to contain those hapless, destitute inhabitants of London, confined to the limits of a poor mans life. And as for the British monarchy, Blake makes a subtly bitter but undeniably truthful accusation. 'And the hapless soldiers sigh runs in blood down palace walls'; here I think we can presume that the word 'palace' represents the monarchy but also the wealthy. ...read more.

Middle

Wordsworth however has a contrary view to the French revolution, as he does to every other political opinion Blake appears to have. His poem, Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 reflects this. Standing on Westminster Bridge, Wordsworth is at the political heart of London, looking east from Parliament and towards the City. Wordsworth's poem is set into the style of an Italian sonnet as opposed to using a Shakespearian style of 4,4,4,2 which would not fit his ideas into its structure. The language he uses in 'Composed Upon' is also Wordsworth's way of showing his Cambridge education in his talented linguistic manner. The date, also part of the title, was oddly added by Wordsworth, possibly as an afterthought, to give a time and a place to the event that he witnessed. The language he uses is much exaggerated in some areas and sometimes gives the impression that what he is describing is in fact not as wonderful as he tells it to be. An example of such hyperbole is the line 'the Earth has nothing to show more fair'; could this really be this true opinion? Wordsworth worshiped the beauty of the Lake District so to me it seems unlikely that the sight of this one majestically beautiful morning could override his adoration towards an entirely different scene. Despite this, Wordsworth's poem is undeniably a more beautiful piece of writing for the eye as it creates wonderful imagery that is more aesthetically pleasing to those who prefer to ignore reality. ...read more.

Conclusion

However I also saw the characters of the artists who wove them. Either poet could be the man to jump the gap or the man to bridge the gap, or the man who will walk straight under an arch instead of the man who would sit and draw it. Which ever you choose for Blake and Wordsworth to be it depends on your perspective. My perspective has been formed as a result of understanding both poems in their own nature and I believe that either Blake or Wordsworth could be the one to walk under an arch instead of sitting and drawing it, it just depends on your perspective of their perspective. Whether you see London as a mighty beating heart or just dark and dismal chartered streets, London will always be seen differently if looked at from a different eye, as told by Blake and Wordsworth. But I prefer not to ignore what shouldn't be so my preference is undeniably Blake's poem. Both poets witnessed something, but Blake's was much more important. He saw the poor people of London, has caught their eyes an read the story behind every chartered street. He was a wealthy educated man that wove a poem to express the sadness and desperation of the people too uneducated to even write their own name. He chose to speak the truth of what was happening everyday instead of a pretty sunrise. Blake's poem is an undeniably more beautiful poem when you understand its nature and that his words still speak truth to this day. ?? ?? ?? ?? Clara Barber ...read more.

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