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A theme of Mortality lives in both poems. In "London" Blake talks
about the death and suffering of people, and in "Ozymandias" Shelley
talks about the death of a civilisation.
A sense of someone dominating, someone with greater power occurs in
both poems. In "London" the rich have this upper hand against the
poor, in "Ozymandias" this great leader is said to have this strength
over his enemies and his own people.
In "Ozymandias" Shelley writes about a fallen empire, a civilisation
that must have gone down hill because now there is no sign of it. In
"London" Blake tells us that the poorer people of this city are going
through a bad time, their empire has fallen like Ozymandias's empire,
but in this case London has not collapsed. Blake writes about how
London had drifted to a time of poverty and disease.
The two poems, both give a feeling of depression and melancholy to the
reader. Shelley uses different words to create this effect, while
Blake writes how everyone is sad and weak.
Great arrogance is shown in both poems. In "Ozymandias" the king shows
that he is arrogant, he describes himself on the pedestal, he talks
about how great and powerful ruler he is. In "London" the arrogance of
the church compares to this.
In "London" the rich betray the poor, because they have put their name
on everything. In "Ozymandias" the sculptor betrays the king when the
statue is being made.
Both poems have phonological techniques like alliteration, rhyme and
onomatopoeia. They are both concisely written and although short in
length are packed with layers of meaning and content.
Strong modifiers are used throughout both poems, which creates
tension. Good adjectives also help with imagery give a clear mental
picture; for example when Ozymandias's face is described, with its
sneer and frown.
In "Ozymandias" Shelley writes about an ancient civilisation. The poem
is written in past tense. Blake writes about the London he is
witnessing; "London" is written in the present tense.
An obvious difference is that Blake writes about a civilisation, which
is in existence while Shelley writes about a civilisation that has
The strength of authority is maintained in "London" while in
"Ozymandias" it has dissipated.
"Ozymandias" fills you with mystery about where the traveller came
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"London" Blake makes the poem mundane and bleak.
"Ozymandias" is a very optimistic poem; Shelley writes about how great
the leader is, while in "London" Blake expresses the city as a place
of unhappiness, he does not write about any good things about London,
only bad, the poem is left pessimistic.
Shelley writes "Ozymandias" in an archaic language, while Blake's
"London" is more modern.
Shelley's "Ozymandias" is a sonnet, while "London" uses repeating
stanzas that help to keep the rhythm, and to separate the different