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With Reference to a section of poems you have studied, compare the various ways poets represent time and change - Be sure to make clear references to historical, social and cultural conditions that may have affected each poems genesis.

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Introduction

With Reference to a section of poems you have studied, compare the various ways poets represent time and change. Be sure to make clear references to historical, social and cultural conditions that may have affected each poems genesis. The poems studied in this essay are written by a range of different poets who express several ideas about time and change in their writing reflecting the moment in time they were composed. These poets belong to a period, which extends from 1792 with Blake's 'London' to Hardy's 'The Impercipient' in 1898. This covers a century of poetry in which cataclysmic events occurred and most definitely influenced the poet's ideas. These poems are lyrical, with powerful imagery and include 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge' written by Wordsworth and 'Ozymandias' by Shelley. The poet's assessment of contemporary life is expressed effectively by use of techniques such as personification and alliteration which help to put across the poems ideas successfully. Clough's 'The latest Decalogue' and Arnold's 'Dover Beach' released their poems in the mid 19th century which convey concepts of man's materialism, greed and loss of faith. The earliest of the poems studied is 'London', written by William Blake in 1792 and is based on the concept of the suffering of Londoners in the late 18th century. Blake could well have been influenced by Thomas Paine's idea of 'The Rights of Man' as his poem was published in the same year as Paine's egalitarian pamphlet (1791-1792). ...read more.

Middle

In this poem Shelley concentrates on mankind and the immense pride it takes in itself. It looks at man's ambition of ruling the world and how it so inadequately fails and its vanity destroyed. The statue of 'Ozymandias' is described as 'Two vast and trunk less legs of stone' that stand without a body; representing a man of power, a dictator with a huge powerful empire that has collapsed. All that remains is 'a shattered visage' which lies 'half sunk' in the sand with its face showing a 'wrinkled lip' and 'a sneer of cold command'. This view symbolizes the big-headed figure of man. The whole poem focuses on the crushed, broke statue in the desert wilderness, with its conceited, zealous and extreme message ("Look on my works, ye Mighty and despair!"). This once great king's boast of unlimited power had been removed, all his effort and pride had disappeared and 'Nothing beside remains' shows the importance of that arrogant king, as around the broken statue 'boundless and bare', 'the lone and level sands stretch far away'. The implication Shelley is attempting to put across is that no matter how powerful something may seem at a certain moment in time, it will undoubtedly fall by the forces of time and nature, so don't assume power will last forever. The poem of Ozymandias illustrates that time is powerful and it doesn't wait or care about how large or enormous man's vanity may have been at a certain time but just carries on. ...read more.

Conclusion

'The Oxen', also by Hardy conveys the idea of an almost complete loss of faith as it portrays how in his present days 'In the lonely barton by yonder coomb, our childhood used to know.' The poems mentioned in this essay convey various themes which link to the main idea of time and change. As time passes through the nineteenth century, a change of opinion occurs in people's attitudes and in society in general. Cataclysmic events which occurred in this time span may well have influenced the views and thoughts of the poets towards man and society. The earlier poems start with man's ambition and faith, and by the time of Shelley and Lyte things start to get unclear and ambiguous. Around the time of Arnold, life becomes even more uncertain as man's faith starts to wane considerably. Eventually by the time of Hardy, man and society begin to look back at what used to be and attempt to start to fix things up once again and rebuild a faithful culture. The poets enhance their writing to put across their arguments vividly by uses several intricate adjectives and phrases, which develop their writing. The use of imaginary is poignant for the reader as it makes them aware of the theme being introduced; moreover, the use of several poetic techniques, such as ABABA line rhyming, personification, alliteration, metaphors and similes are included in the poems of most of the poets. 1 ADNAN YOUNIS 4R-KSL ...read more.

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