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Explore the different ways the poets describe the city of London in their poems

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Introduction

Louise Ward :) Explore the different ways the poets describe the city of London in their poems. You should consider the poems equally and use the texts to support your ideas. The poems 'London' by William Blake and 'composed upon Westminster Bridge' by William Wordsworth are both a description of the same city, however they both take opposite viewpoints when describing their own perception. In the poem 'London', Blake takes a negative view of the city. He presents the people as being unhappy, in the first stanza he talks of "marks of weakness, marks of woe" this suggests misery and perhaps failure. The negativity is emphasised by the repetition in the sentence and the alliteration on the w. Wordsworth however sheds a different light on the city, immediately showing appreciation. He uses some quite royal and perhaps religious language such as "majesty" and "temples". This is a suggestion towards the beauty underneath the normal images of London, portraying the city as being like a kingdom. ...read more.

Middle

It is the natural side of the city and demonstrates how nature can connect with man. It brings a sense of life to the city in the early morning when people are asleep but still retains peace. The structures of the poems are also different. In 'composed upon Westminster Bridge' the poem is not split into stanzas, but Wordsworth has used colons and semi-colons, suggesting the next line carries on, just as a river keeps flowing. He uses no full stops, representing that the flowing River Thames never stops. 'London' however is structured into four stanzas. This perhaps resembles the controlling of the "charter'd streets". The rhyme scheme in the poem creates flow and holds the readers interest. In the two poems, some unexpected language is used, but the choices of words in the poems are somewhat different. In Wordsworth's poem he describes the architecture of the city, as being "open unto the fields, and to the sky" this is unusual language to use when talking about a big city like London, it brings a sense of nature and life. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whereas in Wordsworth's poem, no other person is mentioned other than himself, the significance of this is that he is appreciating the still beauty of London before it is awake. So not only is there a different perception of the city between the poems, but a different time of day, and a different effect on it's readers. Both poems end on incredibly different notes, Wordsworth sums up the splendour of London using the line "and all that mighty heart is lying still". This suggests that the peace in the city is always there, even when the bustle of the city awakens. 'London' however, ends with a negative tone, speaking of a young prostitute; this creates a very emotive and powerful end to the poem. Outlining the distressing view of the city. In comparison, although both poets are relating to the same place, they describe them as being totally different, based on their own opinions. This could be because of the time of day or perhaps because of their own experiences but their imagery both shed totally different light on the city of London. ...read more.

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