London by William Blake and Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth

London by William Blake and Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth

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London by William Blake and Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth

This essay aims to compare and contrast the differences and
similarities between the two poems 'London' and 'Upon Westminster
Bridge'. They both create powerful, contrasting images but are both
similar in the use of language and exaggeration. The first poem to be
commented upon is 'London' by William Blake, written a couple of
decades before the second poem written by William Wordsworth.

William Blake negatively describes London and uses the first person
narrative to make it seem as if it were him wandering the lonely
streets of London. He creates a woeful and miserable impression of the
capital city of England.

"I wander thro' charter'd street,

Near where the charter'd Thames does flow"

Looking at the first two lines of the first stanza, he brings the
negative theme to life by repeating the word 'charter'd' which
suggests a feeling of restriction among the people, as if they are
bound by the government or new laws. He uses the first person as if he
is miserably strolling through 'each charter'd street' beside the
flowing river. The marks of woe he describes in line four of this
stanza could actually be referring to facial scars as most people at
this time in history suffered from various diseases.

"And mark in every face I meet,

Marks of weakness, marks of woe"

The second stanza continues the idea of restriction and being
controlled. Perhaps this is about the strict charter placed upon
London at this time. Blake uses the repetition of the word 'every' to
attract attention to the misery and to create both a sense of fear and
of interest...


... middle of paper ...


...spects, but majorly different in
others. Both of the poets describe London in great detail with much
exaggeration but each focussing on either the extreme positive or
negative point of view.

Obviously, these two poems are opposite and contrasting, both
exaggerating the extreme points of view, but they are also similar in
some aspects. Both the poets describe the river Thames as free, but
for totally different reasons. Both William Blake and William
Wordsworth are visitors to the city and both poems are of extreme
exaggeration. Overall, I prefer the second poem 'Upon Westminster
Bridge' by William Wordsworth as it is an optimistic and positive
sonnet. I prefer the structure and rhyming sequence of the first poem,
but the positive and uplifting language used in Wordsworth's poem has
ultimately made it my favourite.

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