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How do Blake and Wordsworth use language to present their view of London

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Introduction

How do Blake and Wordsworth use language to present their view of London? William Wordsworth and William Blake both use language in various ways to present their view of London. William Wordsworth uses language to express the beauty he find in London and the power the city holds whereas William Blake uses language to convey his negativity towards London and the evil it holds within. Wordsworth lived in the Lake District in Cumbria where it is very tranquil and peaceful, which could have influenced him on being a romantic poet. We can tell he is a romantic poet because in his poem "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge" he has an optimistic description of London using words such as "glittering", "smokeless air", "beautifully" and "sweet". On the other hand, Blake was from a very rebellious family in the city of London. He uses very pessimistic language in his poem called "London" such as "woe", "manacles", "black'ning" and "plague". Each poet sees London from a different perspective and this affects their view of London. Blake, by living in London, is more aware of what is happening in it and who is to blame for all the poverty and pollution. "I wander through each charter'd street". The phrase "I wander" proves that Blake's poem is set in London, making his poem reliable. Wordsworth's poem is also reliable in its own way because he writes, like Blake, about what he sees in London and how he feels towards his sightings. Both poets set their poem at different times of the day and this affected the mood of the poems. Blake's poem is set at "midnight" making it a dark poem, both literally, because it is at night, and metaphorically, because the night is normally associated with darkness and this suggest fear and immorality between the people of London. However, Wordsworth poem is full of light literally and also metaphorically: Literally because it is set in the morning "the beauty of the morning; silent, bare" and metaphorically because the morning is usually related with beauty and this suggests that Wordsworth sees London as being very "bright" and content. ...read more.

Middle

further conveys Wordsworth image of London. The exclusion of the letter "v" from the word "Ne'er" exclaims how overwhelmed Wordsworth is by the beauty of London. The exclamation mark at the end of the word "deep" exclaims Wordsworth excitement about how stunning he views London to be. Blake and Wordsworth also use imagery to present their view of London. Blake uses negative imagery to criticise the church: "How the chimney-sweeper's cry Every black'ning church appals:" In this quotation Blake is saying that the church is appalled by the chimney sweepers and does not want to help them. The "chimney-sweeper's cry" suggests that the sweepers are in pain and need help. This tells us that Blake is angry with the church for forgetting about the chimney sweepers who are in need of help. By using the words "Black'ning church", Blake seems to be suggesting that the church is black with pollution. However, he could also be suggesting that the institution of the church is corrupt. In the 18th century men joined the church for the wrong reasons for example, for the comfort or the easy living. They also joined because they got a good salary and their job only contained little religious related work. Blake thought that the church was corrupt for this reason. Blake also uses an oxymoron: "black'ning church". A church should be bringing 'the light of god' but in fact here it is "black'ning". This emphasises Blake's anger towards London because he thinks that the pollution in London has taken over the purity of the church, "black'ning" it. Blake also uses imagery to criticise the King: "And the hapless Soldier's sigh Runs in blood down Palace-walls." Here Blake criticises the king because he is saying that the King is not doing anything for the poor and Blake implies that the King is guilty for all the soldiers who are injured. The blood is running outside the palace walls suggesting that the King is detached from his people but Blake thinks that the King should be showing more consideration telling us that Blake is angry with the king. ...read more.

Conclusion

A further exception to Wordsworth's structure is in the quotation: "Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto fields, and to the sky;" In the first line "Ships, towers, dome, theatres, and temples lie," the rhythm completely breaks down because Wordsworth stresses all the buildings. He does this to emphasise London wealth and power showing us that he thinks very highly of London because he wants to make these points of the city stand out to the reader. Another exception in Wordsworth structure is at the beginning of the quotation: "Dear God! the very houses seem asleep." In "Dear God!" both syllables are stressed because of the exclamation. The two stressed words suggests that Wordsworth is overwhelmed and shocked about what he sees and the exclamation mark at the end shows that he is excited about what he sees. By using this free structure which has exceptions, Wordsworth is implying that London is free and cannot be contained just within the constraints of a sonnet. He uses the variations to help him express London's wealth, power and beauty reflecting what he views London to be. This is a complete contrast to Blake's structure as that was unchanging to reflect Blake's view that London would never change and will forever be in poverty. Therefore it is clear that by various language techniques each poet has presented their views on London. By using negative diction, negative imagery and an unchanging structure, Blake has proved that he has a very pessimistic image if London and he thinks that London will never change: evil will always be dominating the good. However, by using positive diction, positive imagery and a sonnet that has exceptions, Wordsworth has proved that he has a very optimistic image of London and he thinks that London is so beautiful that he cannot constraint its beauty just within a sonnet. Blake and Wordsworth's various language techniques allow the reader to emotionally connect with each of their poems giving the reader clear image of how they both present their different views of London. ...read more.

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