What is most interesting is how both Wordsworth and Shelley convey their

What is most interesting is how both Wordsworth and Shelley convey their ideas to the reader through the way they handle the respective settings of where the poems actually occur, the subject matter of the poems and, most importantly, how the themes or stories are told to the reader by both of the poets either by using their own voices or speaking through a character. There are also contrasting themes throughout both poems that exemplify polarisation between peace/violence and understanding/ignorance. From an in-depth reading of both of the poems that are in question, it is possible to find many common themes, but the theme of death is strongly inherent throughout both.As both poets are classified as Romantic within the themes of their poems, a reader should consider what constitutes the ideas behind the Romantic movement of poetry. In order to explore the theme of horror and violence within his poem fully Shelley makes use of frighteningly grotesque imagery and language, a common device in Romantic poetry in order to convey his feelings and address the grotesque nature of the massacre that relies on contrasts between serene versus grotesque images and language to keep the reader continually horrified ‘Had their brains knocked out by them’ (OU reading supplement, line 21)Wordsworth draws on the notion of death, or rather our utter inability to admit and accept to that idea of finality. In We are seven a young child’s perception of death is seen through innocence and curiosity. The poem reflects upon this innocence by portraying the viewpoint of a little girl who claims to have six other siblings despite the fact that two of them are dead. Wordsworth allows the reader to see both the child and the adult opinion. While the tone of the poem is relatively peaceful in its approach, there are moments where the child’s loss of her siblings could still be highly emotional and contentious as she tries to explain the loss of her sister simply as ‘Till God released her of her pain’ (51).Through Wordsworth’s poem, we can fully witness the little girl’s clear lack of grief. It can be noted that she does not deny the fact that her siblings are dead but the use of the neutral word “lie” to describe their burial, suggests they are not lost forever. They have simply taken residence in a different place now. This is shown when she describes Jane’s death and of her brother John as being ‘forced to go’ (59). None of these deaths are brutal or morbid, when compared to The Mask Of Anarchy, but are simply stated as fact. There is the little’s girl’s use of personalised nouns such as ‘my sister’ and ‘my brother’. When considering the use of these words in the present tense, this makes her position regarding their deaths evident in the sense that they are very much a current part of her life. This intensifies the tension present between her and the adult for their views only seem to further diverge. Shelley also conveys a serene setting at the start of his poem ‘As I lay asleep in Italy’ (1) with its dreamlike tranquil setting of the peaceful sea, but both reader and narrator are swiftly brought to their senses with Shelley’s sharp attack against one of the leaders of the day being personified as a living embodiment of murder ‘I met Murder on the way’ (5). The effective choice of certain deliberate words creates and maintains the theme of grotesqueness. Shelley uses the grotesque in this poem to parallel his depth of anger and feeling about the events at Peterloo. The poem also has a prophetic dream-like quality where there is no reprieve for the reader as the parade of grim images carries on relentlessly.  Both poems carry strong images of the love of nature that was often widely used within the Romantic movement. However, it is the antithesis of how both poets use their respective elements of natural imagery that are of most interest to the reader. Wordsmith sets his poem within a pastoral setting that uses soft comforting and elaborately detailed imagery. One such example of this imagery is evident through the use of the seasons. It shows us that her siblings, even in death, are a routine part of her daily activities. During the summer, she tells us ‘their graves are green, they may be seen’ (37). The internal rhyme of repeated vowels present in this phrase, called assonance, emphasises the beauty of these graves and the green can almost be perceived as a symbol for life with its vibrant colour. It could also give us an indication of how much time has passed since the graves were dug with the green representing moss that has slowly grown over the stones possibly over a space of a few years. We could also perceive the child as a thing of nature with her being described within the poem using words such as ‘simple girl’,‘little cottage girl’ and ‘little maid’ are all symbols of childish pastoral innocence. Even the place where her siblings are buried is peaceful ‘Two of us in the churchyard lie’ (21) with the child and her mother actually living close by in the ‘churchyard cottage’ (23), from this we could understand that the souls of the children are at rest with their bodies at peace buried in holy ground. This again is in total contrast to the vast scenes of death and destruction contained in Shelley’s The Mask of Anarchy.The Mask of Anarchy is not just limited to shocking images and contrasts alone. It can also be seen in the very structure of the poem. Instead of relying on a complex format with a number of impactive metaphors, this poem is incredibly simple in its style, structure, and rhyming pattern. This very simplicity is at the core of the grotesqueness of the poem because there is no attempt to mask horror or unpleasantness. Shelley deliberately uses blunt words to describe death and how it happens. The fifth Stanza is written with a rhyming structure exactly as could be found in a children’s nursery rhyme or song. Following the AA/BB rhyming structure, who/fro and gem/them, it gives the reader a stark simplicity of the rhyming pattern that is most disturbing, since it relates such complex thoughts and images, but the language itself is painfully simplistic.We are seven is composed of sixteen four-line stanzas, and ends with one five-line stanza. Each stanza has an AB/AB rhyming pattern. Within this rhyming structure Wordsworth repeats some phrases or sentences in order to emphasise something: ‘Nay, we are seven!’ (64, 69) The little girl continuously repeats this phrase in the poem to convince the narrator that her two deceased siblings are still her siblings. However, a strong emotional impact is created by this repetition when Wordsworth rhymes ‘seven’ with ‘heaven’ not once but twice. By using this repetition, it reinforces the spiritual belief that the girl has. But somehow, this overwhelming belief eludes the narrator.Shelley’s intensive use of the grotesque makes this poem and the events it is connected to allude to a realistic hell on earth. In much the same way that the poet William Blake used London as a backdrop in his own hellish commentary of the contemporary world ‘and runs in blood down palace walls’ (peomhunter.com, 2018), Shelley creates through deceptively simple structure, language, and contrast, all figures that are larger than life—both the figures of innocence and the spectres of evil, death, and, deception. The function and meaning of the grotesque are intimately connected to the anger this poem directly expresses and although it is disturbing, the use of the grotesque in terms of imagery is vital to the message and ultimate meaning of ‘The Mask of Anarchy’ that Shelley attempts to communicate. For example, the individual politicians that he attacks are reduced to personifications of eternal vices ‘Like Sidmouth, next, Hypocrisy’ (24).This beautiful narrative ballad by Wordsworth portrays the innocence, love and the optimism that children are capable of. The poem can be understood from both the views, that of an adult and a child, it is from this simplistic way that Wordsworth sets out to provide varying perspectives of the most grieved and feared, death. In conclusion, this beautiful poem makes the readers see the perspective of an innocent child towards death, her love and her everlasting bond with her siblings invokes the feelings of happiness, hope, and positivity. These are themes that are in total contrast to the nihilistic morality of Shelley’s pessimism. Within the language of the poem, it vehemently denounces tyranny as exploitative and as going against the very laws of nature. From this, comes the combined Romantic theme of the love of nature that both of the poems are in agreement.

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