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'How does Wordsworth's view of city life differ from that of Blake? How does each poet convey these differences?

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Introduction

Ashley Stanley 11h Poetry - Blake and Wordsworth 'How does Wordsworth's view of city life differ from that of Blake? How does each poet convey these differences? William Blake and William Wordsworth were two late 18th Century poets. Blake was born in 1757 and lived, for most of his life, in London. Wordsworth was born in 1770 in Cumbria but moved around quite a lot. Later on in life he found himself in London awaiting a coach to Dover. From this we can look at the connections between the two poets and London and how it inspired them to write the poems 'London' (1794) and 'Lines Composed upon Westminster Bridge' (1802). London in the 18th Century was a hectic place. It was a time of new beginnings as the 'industrial revolution' was occurring with the huge development of steam power. All of society was divided into classes, upper, middle and lower. Fortunately, both poets were lucky enough to have respectable backgrounds so they did not have to tolerate or associate with the awful lower class conditions. ...read more.

Middle

Both poems are themed differently, although both about London, 'Lines composed upon Westminster Bridge' is Wordsworth's positive view and 'London' is Blake's negative view. I got this impression from the language each of the poets used. Wordsworth uses dignified language such as 'majesty' and 'splendour' to portray his vision of the city giving us the impression it is a place you'd like to be. Blake uses more common language including swear words to show us the hate he has for the 'chartered' city. Ashley Stanley 11h Phrases like 'youthful harlot's curse' and 'blood down palace walls' amplifies the fact that he hates the city. Wordsworth's poem is a petrarchan sonnet, separated into an octet and a sestet. A sonnet is a fourteen-lined poem. An octet is eight lines and a sestet is six lines. Using this structure, Wordsworth was able to use a highly patterned rhyme scheme to link his ideas. In both the octet and sestet the last word of every other line rhymes. ...read more.

Conclusion

Blake criticises a lot of people including the society as a whole, 'In every cry of every man', and also mentions children, 'In every infants cry of fear'. He refers to religion, 'blackening church appalls', military, 'hapless soldier's sigh', monarchy, 'palace walls', prostitutes, 'harlot's', and marriage, 'the marriage hearse'. By listing each of the subjects in this way he is trying to display the reality of the problems within the city. I believe Blake is trying to sway people not to like London in the hope that one day it would return to how it was when he liked it. If I were to pick the poem, which gives the most accurate picture of London, I couldn't really say. If you were to merge the poems then id say it was perfect. Wordsworth displays the good parts whereas Blake shows the bad. Therefore like anywhere in the world it has its good and bad parts and without one it would not be the same city. 1 ...read more.

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