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GCSE: William Blake

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Blake and the Romantics

  1. 1 Blake along with Wordsworth, Keats, Byron and Coleridge are all associated with the Romantic movement in Europe in the late 18th century and early 19th century.
  2. 2 The Romantics sympathised with the 'common man' and supported the American and French revolutions.
  3. 3 Considered mad in his lifetime Blake was a seminal figure in the poetry and art of the Romantic age and some of his poetry has been said to be 'prophetic'.
  4. 4 Some critics have said that Blake is 'far and away the greatest artist Britain ever produced'.
  5. 5 Blake, along with other Romantics hated what the industrial revolution had done to Britain's cities especially London and idealised the countryside.

Blake's ideas and expression

  1. 1 Blake had progressive ideas and saw visions of angels throughout his life. He was deeply philosophical and mystical he was very religious but criticised organised religion.
  2. 2 He was a member of the free love movement and likened some marriages to slavery saying that marriage was 'legalised prostitution'.
  3. 3 In Songs of Innocence and Experience Blake embraced the standard Romanticism of the innocence of childhood.
  4. 4 In the Songs of Experience Blake shows how innocence is lost by fear, political, social and economic corruption and how people are oppressed by the church, government and the ruling classes.
  5. 5 Blake illustrated the poems themselves and they follow the ideas of Milton's Paradise Lost and the fall which he had illustrated previously.

Things to consider when writing essays on Blake's work

  1. 1 Blake's poems are deceptively simple but contain strong symbolism and liberal messages concealed within their regular structure and rhyme schemes.
  2. 2 Focus on the question by referring to it in the introduction, conclusion and by writing topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph.
  3. 3 Analyse and do not describe the content of the poem.
  4. 4 Make sure all poetry terminology is accurate to demonstrate understanding of poetic techniques.
  5. 5 Always consider what you know of Blake's life and strongly held beliefs - the themes of social conditions, the poor, corruption, industrialisation, the church and marriage are present in all of his poems.

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  1. Three different poets' views of London.

    Some of the imperative verbs make it sound like an object is being moved instead of describing people. The use of timing is used in the poem which increases the feeling of monotony and also gives the impression that no one is allowed to be spontaneous. Timing also increases the feeling of the poem following a recipe. "Pour into empty red bus until full then push in ten more" and "tip into terraced houses, each carefully lined". These examples create an image of a trapped atmosphere with the people.

    • Word count: 918
  2.  Comment of the way Blake uses imagery in Songs of Innocence andSongs of Experience to give different perspectives on the human condition.

    Blake may intend to use language to associate words to a larger picture, perhaps by using connotations. This method adds a lot of depth and meaning to the poem. An example of this can be found in 'LONDON'. The use of the word 'blackning' may appear simple and straighforward, yet Blake may of intended this word to have several meanings. Black is a sinister colour which may be associated with evil, as well as suggesting Londons filth.

    • Word count: 360
  3. "A Poet's response to place is rarely purely descriptive" - Discuss.

    Dover Beach -Matthew Arnold (1823-1888) "London" is a poem about William Blake's interpretation of the dark side of London, he talks about how everyone is suffering, and how everyone is looking for freedom, no one has a future. " Dover Beach" is a poem about a beach in England, Matthew Arnold is describing what he feels is wrong with the world, and the reasons for the problems we have. "London" - A poem of social protest, against the suffering of all who live in a world such as this.

    • Word count: 810
  4. Appreciation of 'The Tyger'.

    One of the most dominant emotion that one can feel when reading the poem is the wonder and awe. Whether it is at the tiger or at God, Blake shows much wonder; as shown in the extract in verse 1: 'And what shoulder & what art, Could twist thy heart?' Blake describes the colours of the tiger's fur as 'burning', as though the fur of the tiger was a fire itself. This fire is carried on into verse two where Blake describes that there is a fire burning in the eyes of the tiger.. In line 3 and 4 of verse 1 Blake turns his attention to the creator: 'What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry.'

    • Word count: 1931
  5. An evaluation on a diary extract on the Great Fire of London 1666 written by Samuel Pepys.

    The extract that I am evaluating details one event, The Great Fire of London 1666. Pepys lived near the Tower of London which was on the outskirts overlooking the city so commanded a good view of the city. London of 1666 was a city of half-timbered buildings with pitch covered roofs that were easily ignited, the houses were close-set with little room between them so once a fire started it proved very difficult to put out. The usually method in stopping a fire was to demolish a line of buildings in the way, so as to stop the spread of the fire, but on this occasion this was not tried so the fire got out of control.

    • Word count: 665
  6. Compare and Contrast the ways in which Blake and Wordsworth write about London, paying attention to the social and literary context of the poems.

    All of his emotions are portrayed through his poetry. 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge,' is a magnificent sonnet showing Wordsworth appreciating and demonstrating the idealised beauty and panoramic view of a great city. It is a characteristic of his love for solitude that it is set in the early morning, when there is no bustle and noise. Wordsworth personifies London, presenting it as a royal being, 'The city now doth, like a garment, wear,' clothed in exquisite garments. This makes London seem superior to nature, divine and royal and the best place for such a magnificent monarchy.

    • Word count: 1706
  7. Compare and contrast wordsworth's 'composed upon westministerbridge' and blake's 'london' - You should refer to content and use of language.

    William Wordsworth uses the phrase 'Composed Upon' in his poem which is quite popular and recognisable. It makes the reader more comfortable with what he or she is about to read. 'Westminster Bridge' also adds to the reader's comfort as it is a well known place so the reader can identify with it. Therefore the overall title 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge' is a clue about the way the poem will depict London, in a celebratory way. 'London' by William Blake is a very stark and bare title as it is only one word. This means that you can't tell what he is going to do with the poem.

    • Word count: 1407
  8. Compare and contrast the ways in which William Blake struggles to understand good and evil in 'The Lamb' and 'The Tiger'.

    Compared to the childlike questions and answers in the lamb, where Blake asks 'Little lamb, who made thee?' 'Little lamb, I'll tell thee', Blake cannot bear to answer his questions in 'The Tiger'. In disbelief, he asks and answers himself in the same sentence 'Did he who made the lamb make thee?'. Here he rhetorically asks himself if the same 'God' created the lamb and the tiger, and if so, his fears of the possible answer that in fact a kind and gentle God could create such a monster as the tiger.

    • Word count: 1500
  9. Compare the ways in which Wordsworth and Blake express very different feelings about the sights and sounds of London in "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge" and "London".

    The human aspect of the poem is introduced early on with "in every face". The poet has a very subtle approach at getting his message of corruption across to the reader, but the feeling that is received from the poem is one of a strong nature. London consists of four quatrains (four line alternately rhyming stanzas), with relatively short lines, emphasising the lack of embellishment and emotion in the poem. There is a rigid structure and rhyme scheme throughout the poem.

    • Word count: 2089
  10. Poems for comparison - London by William Blake (pre 1900) and Composed on Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth.

    This depiction of the inhabitants suggests people are full of worry and weakness. He then continues to describe the people in more detail; I think he almost expresses a pity for the people living in London because he's mentioning the strife and how hard it is. This is indicated in his sentence 'mind-forg'd manacles I hear', which tells me he imagines the people to be trapped with no freedom and no escape from the drudgery of London (a huge jail). Blake expresses disgust at the monarchy in the third verse, in his mind he describes the monarchy as shutting out the people in London and the monarchy doesn't what to know or get involved with the towns people, whilst demanding loyalty and compliance sending young people (young men)

    • Word count: 740
  11. How do all three poets portray city and city life?

    During the poem by Thom Gunn the city is presented as fierce and is exposed in covert and imprisoning ways, unlike a London fete, which is more direct. Gunn writes 'Darkness hunching in an alley', which is a sign of dreadfulness and brutality and it is used in an explicit way, just like Patmore and Blake's poems. Thom Gunn's 'In Praise of Cities', represented as a female, is showing violence as a rough sexual manner such as 'she presses', which are extremely forceful words.

    • Word count: 1155
  12. 'How does Wordsworth's view of city life differ from that of Blake? How does each poet convey these differences?

    The two poems I have mentioned, 'London' and 'Lines composed upon Westminster Bridge', are both views of London from different perspectives. This is unusual as the two poems were written at around the same time. They reflect the poet's impression of the city and create two completely different portraits. Wordsworth sees the beauty in everything; he is a pantheist and truly believes in god. He points out the good in London and the bad points become his blind spot. Although writing about the city, Wordsworth is still able to write in his romantic and pastoral style using lines such as, 'open unto the fields, and to the sky'.

    • Word count: 883
  13. Compare and contrast the three poems exploring the image each poet gives to pre-1900 London.

    He writes about how there are loads of people in London and that everyone loves London. He uses the word Loco-motion to slow the rhyme down. He talks about an unknown character Jarvis and a man named Malthus who wanted to control the population. He describes them by showing their character through many ways by rhyming and by emphasising the words. He quotes a line from a silly little song and he doesn't want be caught on a journey with boring people.

    • Word count: 1922
  14. Purley Town.

    This is because Purley is highly convenient and offers links everywhere whether you're a businessman travelling to London via Purley station or a student getting to school by bus. There are a variety of different bus routes that pass through Purley which means you can go to almost any direction whether its towards London or away from London. London's 6th biggest business estate, Croydon, is no more than 1.6 miles away from Purley. This is highly convenient for both shoppers and businessmen as it is no more than a fifteen minutes drive away from central Purley or you could take a train from Purley station and be there within 5 minutes.

    • Word count: 670
  15. "How the population of Deptford has changed from 1945-1999".

    For example in 1963 there was a 'Burkes' store which is now represented by a 'Halal' butcher store, which show how different ethnic groups have mixed in as they have settle in. Of all of people, who have answers to our interview, 50% were male and the other 50% were female. 50% of all the people we interviewed were 31-40 years old, whereas 25% were 21-30 and the last 25% were over 60 years old. With 50% of all the people we interviewed were White-English.

    • Word count: 3739
  16. The London Congestion Charge is now a reality. What has been the effect of this initiative on businesses (and other stakeholders).

    Except for those with exemptions (the disabled, taxis, nurses etc.) anyone who fails to pay by midnight will be fined �80. The Mayor of London Ken Livingstone put the scheme in place on February 2003. The scheme is live Monday- Friday, 7am- 6:30pm (excluding public holidays). Residents are entitled to a 90% discount and those with a disabled 'blue badge', taxis and licensed mini cabs, and drivers of clean-engine vehicles, among others, will be able to drive in the congestion charge zone for free.

    • Word count: 694
  17. The London Congestion Charge .

    As a result of this shift from cars to public transport there would be less pollution in London. If there are more people using public transport such as the tube, the turnover will be much higher and therefore have enough money to improve their services, and in doing so will make the underground a much safer method of transport. After considering the advantages of introducing these congestion charges it proves quite a respectable solution.

    • Word count: 506
  18. " How is London portrayed in the poems 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge' and 'London'?

    "Marks of weakness, marks of woe" (line 4) shows that London is corrupt and unhappy. The two poets, hence, have contrasting views of the city London. Wordsworth view is positive, focusing on the natural and man made beauty of the city. But on the other hand, Blake's poem dives deeper into a darker side of politics, prostitution and corrupted crocked people. The imagery used to express the themes is vivid and draws a picture in your head. Wordsworth poem draws flawless images of peace and harmony whereas Blake's poem draws images of blood, bribes and evil.

    • Word count: 547
  19. What ideas do Blake and Wordsworth present and how effectively are they presented?

    He has written it in prose using iambic pentameter to help emphasise the meaning of the rhyming words, each line has the same number of syllables. The poem itself is descriptive, with a strong rhyming scheme. It contains anachronism, in the third to last line he uses archaic English to describe the river. This shows he has a wider ranger of vocabulary than other poet at that time. He uses assonance throughout the poem along with adjectives and punctuation on every line.

    • Word count: 1235
  20. William Blake hated tyranny and celebrated liberty. Focusing on several poems from Songs of Innocence and Experience discuss to what extent this is evident.

    like a maggot getting into an apple, no one can see it happening until it is too late. The alliteration on the last line in "The Sick Rose", "Does they life destroy" accentuates and emphasises the problem that the world is faced with. In his poems, Blake heightens his attention to the corruption of the natural world: natural versus unnatural - a device that Blake uses to good effect in his presentation of evil versus good. Blake felt that the establishment of his time destroys love and goodness, but they also destroy nature by taking over the country side and

    • Word count: 1404
  21. William Blake is a social critic of his time. Who does he criticise and what does he think about the poor, especially poor?

    William Blake just wanted everyone to know what he clearly saw in life. The poem 'The Chimney Sweeper' in the book, 'Songs of Innocence' was written in 1789. It is about a boy, the narrator, who was sold by his father to be a chimney sweeper. The narrator talks about his life as a chimney sweeper and his friend Tom Dacre who is also in the same Profession. At the beginning of the poem the narrator is introducing himself to the reader, though he doesn't say anything about his name or age.

    • Word count: 3361
  22. Poetry Comparison Compare Blake's 'London' and Wordsworth's 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge'.

    Blake blackens the city by painting images of child labour, 'how the chimney sweepers cry; every blackening church appals'. This shows that the church is a hypocrite as they are using chimneysweepers themselves. Blake also dislikes the rich aristocrats by describing 'how the hapless sigh, runs in blood down the palace walls'. This emphasises that the poor work very hard and fight pointless battles while the rich reap the rewards and benefits. In stanza four Blake paints a disgusting picture of prostitution, 'the youthful harlots curse, blasts the newborn infants ear', this tells the reader that prostitution leads to disease and plagues, many unwanted.

    • Word count: 952
  23. Comparing "Composed Upon WestminsterBridge , September 3, 1802" by William Wordsworth and "London" by William Blake.

    "...chartered Thames..." This emphasises that everything has been taken over and exploited. "Chartered" is mostly likely to mean "licentious" and "freely immoral". Blake feels that he is trapped, and he experiences London as a very corrupt and immoral place. An example of his inability to break free from London's immorality and despair is highlighted in verse 2, line 4; "The mind-forged manacles I hear" Wordsworth focuses on the scenery of London, whereas Blake tends to pay most of his attention to the people of London. Wordsworth uses personification. He personifies the sun, river and the city.

    • Word count: 1192
  24. Compare and contrast The Echoing Green with The Schoolboy by William Blake

    The bells are "cheerful" and "merry", and the skies are "happy", which all demonstrate the atmosphere that Blake is trying to portray. The final stanza has a slightly different air to it, as it focuses on the end of the day when "no more can be merry", but it brings a peaceful and optimistic close to the poem, leaving the reader with a mental picture of "the darkening green". In "The Schoolboy" Blake takes on the persona of a young boy whose innocence and carefree childhood is being worn away by didactic tribulations.

    • Word count: 1393
  25. London a literary guide through the eyes of writers of the time.

    Many people think he was mad due to his wild and different style of writing; the content he expressed in his poems was so different to that of his time people could not appreciate it for its true worth. An extract from the poem: 'London' by William Blake. 'In every cry of every man, In every infant's cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-for'd manacles I hear.' In his poem 'London' he takes a tone of anger describing the sights and scenes that one may have seen at the time whilst walking down a typical London

    • Word count: 1231

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