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Explore The Different Ways The Poets Describe The City Of London In

810 words - 3 pages

Explore the different ways the poets describe the city of London in
their poems.

Explore the different ways the poets describe the city of London in
their poems. You should consider the poems equally and use the texts
to support your ideas.

The poems ‘London’ by William Blake and ‘composed upon Westminster
Bridge’ by William Wordsworth are both a description of the same city,
however they both take opposite viewpoints when describing their own

In the poem ‘London’, Blake takes a negative view of the city. He
presents the people as being unhappy, in the first stanza he talks of
“marks of weakness, marks of woe” this suggests misery and perhaps
failure. The negativity is emphasised by the repetition in the
sentence and the alliteration on the w. Wordsworth however sheds a
different light on the city, immediately showing appreciation. He uses
some quite royal and perhaps religious language such as “majesty” and
“temples”. This is a suggestion towards the beauty underneath the
normal images of London, portraying the city as being like a kingdom.
It brings in the idea of belief, opposing the idea of “weakness” in
Blake’s poem ‘London’.

In this poem, Blake talks of a “black’ning church” this suggests
poverty and destruction. Blackened literally by the smoke and
pollution in the air, and perhaps blackened metaphorically by the
misery within the city. The colour black immediately brings bad
thoughts to the mind, thoughts of danger and despair. On the contrary,
Wordsworth appeals to the reader’s senses by describing the sun as
“bright and glittering in the smokeless air”. This differs
dramatically to Blake’s description as it brings a bright sense of
colour to the mind and a feeling of warmth rather than hopelessness.
It sets the perfect atmosphere, showing his appreciation of the city
before it is really awake.

The river Thames is mentioned in both poems, but the way in which it
is described is very different. Blake refers to it as “the charter’d
Thames”, this represents the life of the people who live in London and
how they are restricted, but Wordsworth describes it as “glideth at
its own sweet will” suggesting there is no force and its free rather
than restricted. It is the natural side of the city and demonstrates
how nature can connect with man. It brings a sense of life to the city
in the early morning when people are asleep but still retains peace.

The structures of the poems are also different. In ‘composed upon
Westminster Bridge’ the poem is not split into stanzas, but Wordsworth
has used colons and semi-colons, suggesting the next line carries on,
just as a river keeps flowing. He...

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