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Many of the poets in the selection use a distinctive voice such as a father, a lover etc. Discuss the effects achieved by this approach in any two poems from the selection.

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Introduction

Florentyna Smith Many of the poets in the selection use a distinctive voice such as a father, a lover etc. Discuss the effects achieved by this approach in any two poems from the selection. Many poets have restrictions imposed upon them, due to the social and political standings of the period, and so they must create a speaker, or a voice in which they can speak through in order to convey their ideas subtly to the masses. Percy Shelley writes in the late 18th and early 19th century, where literature was not allowed to speak out against social and political conformities and so Shelley employs the technique of using a speaker, in the case of Ozymandias two speakers, to voice his opinions of the government. The poem, originally written in competition with Horace Smith, contains a story (told by Ozymandias) within a story (told by the traveller) within a story (told by the speaker of the poem). And so, by using the various voices he can express whatever message he might wish to without actually seeming like saying it himself. In Ozymandias, what Shelley actually says is that the fleeting power of man and his works are and will never be a match for time and nature. ...read more.

Middle

What is inscribed on the stone is then read, but spoken in the voice of Ozymandias himself, introducing a third speaker to the poem that has an arrogance that the poet may be trying to parallel with the government of his own society. He says 'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: / Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair' and so Shelley sets up the image of a great king with a colossal power only to jump back to the second speaker and say 'nothing beside remains' showing that all the power of the king has been destroyed and only the works of the sculptor remain. Ultimately Shelley is criticising his own government and at the same time showing the power of time and nature and how it will conquer all of man's works. Shelley finishes his poem with this image shown through 'The lone and level sands stretch far away.' Perhaps the sand is vaster than the empire is now. So through the use of different speakers Shelley parallels them to different aspects of his society then picks those aspects apart through the characters and images in the poem, these are the effects Shelley achieves through the use of distinctive voices in the poem. ...read more.

Conclusion

Betjiman ends his poem with a very strong statement supporting his criticism of the upper classes 'And now, dear Lord, I cannot wait / Because I have a luncheon date', this statement re-enforces the selfishness of the upper classes and their attitude toward their religion. This lady is a believable portrayal of the British affluence of the time in that her wards and attitudes contradict themselves and are severely misguided. Overall there is a disdain for the speaker inherent in the poem that seems to be directed at the lady's indignant ignorance. In Westminster Abbey, John Betjiman shows the flaws of British upper class's thinking and attitudes during World War One. Whereas in Ozymandias, P.B. Shelley shows how the ignorance of man will always be conquered by time and the strength of nature. This is done in both poems through the use of a distinctive voice or speaker in the poem, ultimately taking any criticism the poet wishes to make and placing that subtly (or sometimes not) into the poem for the public to read. The effect created is that the poet is not saying these things himself, rather the speaker in the poem. ...read more.

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