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How do Blake and Wordsworth portray London in their poems? What similarities and differences are there?

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Introduction

How do Blake and Wordsworth portray London in their poems? What similarities and differences are there? I am writing this essay comparing William Wordsworth poem 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge' and William Blake's poem 'London'. They are two completely different poems looking at different perspectives and points of London. But they still have similarities as well as differences! What are they? One of the main differences between the two poems is the difference in perspective. The place is a major example of this - Wordsworth is in Westminster bridge and can only spot big/great and positive things about London, he can't see people but can see landscapes and buildings, the title tells us a lot about this ('Composed upon Westminster Bridge'). While Blake is on the streets of London, looking deeper at things. ...read more.

Middle

'This city now doth, like a garment, wear the beauty of the morning', creates the image that London is a person which every morning clothes with beauty. On the other hand, Blake's poem gives us a completely different view. The words 'cry', 'tear', 'sigh' and 'curse', show us that Blake feels London's people are sad and upset. The quotation 'Marks of weakness, marks of woe' shows London's people are weak and distressed, these are powerful and immediately tell you that London is not a happy, joyful place. The whole of the 3rd verse is very crucial and tells us that London's people don't care about each other. The word 'Chimney sweeper' tells us that many children die because of chimney sweeping, this also shows that parents are selling many young boys for trade to get their own money. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another rare similarity is the fact that both use metaphors and personification effectively. Blake uses the phrase 'mind-forg'd manacles' shows that the population of London is chained mentally and physically. It is used to great effect. This makes you think of prisoners. While, Wordsworth uses clever personification in describing London as 'the mighty heart'. If the heart stops working our body stops working and likewise if London stops working then the whole of England stops working, this was used to excellent effect. After reading and comparing both poems, I liked them both equally because Wordsworth's poem was easier to understand with the language not too complicated. It also seemed peaceful, joyful and made you feel happier. But Blake's poem looked deeper into London (therefore was harder to understand). Unlike, Wordsworth's it described people. It seemed to give you a honest and detailed view of London. I think both poems were equally good! ...read more.

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