Comparing different images of London; Blake's 'London', and Wordworth's 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge'

Essay by student_shooHigh School, 11th grade October 2007

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In this assignment I will evaluate the similarities and differences between two poems. The first poem is William Blake's 'London', the second is William Wordsworth's 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge'. Both poems convey different opinions of London through the language techniques used by the authors. 'London' was written in 1974 and depicts London in a dystopian way, 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge' was written in 1802, and shows London in a very different light. Wordsworth highlights the positive parts of London and shows it as a Utopia.

Both poems present contrasting ideas and opinions of London.

William Blake's view of London describes the streets of London as though he himself was walking down them. He describes the sounds he can hear and the hostility of the sights he sees. William Wordsworth shows his utter admiration for the tranquillity of London in the morning, and describes his view of the city from Westminster Bridge.

Blake's poem is disturbing and gives the reader an image of poverty and vulnerability. It is very thought provoking and gives the reader lots to think about. Wordsworth's poem is calming and reassuring, giving the reader an image of cleanliness and nature.

The visual imagery in both poems help to portray the picture of London seen by the authors. In 'London', Blake writes about the facial expressions he encounters. He describes how the faces of the people give away their feelings of sadness 'in every face I meet; marks of weakness, marks of woe' Blake explains how every face shows depression; nobody is spared from the sadness that surrounds them. The image presented by Blake of the 'youthful harlots curse' shows the corruption on every level. The prostitutes are young and they 'blast the newborn infant's tear', this is a reference to the sexually transmitted...