Comparing the Poets' Use of Language To Present Their View of London in Composed Upon Westminster Bridge by Wordsworth and London by Blake

Comparing the Poets' Use of Language To Present Their View of London in Composed Upon Westminster Bridge by Wordsworth and London by Blake

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Comparing the Poets' Use of Language To Present Their View of London in Composed Upon Westminster Bridge by Wordsworth and London by Blake

London was, is and undoubtedly always will be, a city of enormous
interest and controversy, especially for those employed in the field
of writing. The two poems, 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge', 1802,
by William Wordsworth and 'London', 1794, by William Blake,
demonstrate this through their opposing views. The intention of both
William Blake and William Wordsworth was to portray their own deeply
felt views of London in their poems. They exhibit contrasting
perceptions of the city based upon their conflicting observations,
and, indeed, their very different literary aims.

Blake depicts a gloomy perspective in his poem, 'London', whereas
Wordsworth's tone is bright and buoyant and he paints an optimistic
picture of the city in his work, 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge'.
Blake chooses to describe London at night, 'midnight streets', so that
he can reinforce the theme of London's murkiness - representing a dark
and dismal city, full of misery. Wordsworth, on the other hand,
describes London in the morning, 'The beauty of the morning', and
expresses his admiration for its architecture with,

'towers, domes, theatres and temples lie

...

All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.' He writes that London
is incomparable, indeed, he describes London with the intensity of
emotions directed towards one beloved, which contrasts with Blake's
bleak portrayal of the very same metropolis.

The two poems use similar literary devices, but to very different
effect, to describe their thoughts about...


... middle of paper ...


...oems, one gathers a sense of the different
ways the two poets have manipulated language to fit their theme and
view. The two starkly contrasting poems use vocabulary, structure and
imagery to stir opposite emotions in the reader, but of the same city.
Perhaps these differing views stem from the poets' own backgrounds:
Wordsworth was brought up in a middleclass home in Cumbria, where he
attended a grammar school. The Lake District was no doubt the
inspiration for many of his poems telling of the beauty of nature.
Blake, however, was born and lived in London, and eked out a living as
an engraver. He was surrounded by industry, constrained by the nature
of human beings and the quality of institutional organisation. The
reader senses these different lifestyles when reading the two poems
and observing their use of language.

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