Write An Essay Of In Which You Compare And Contrast The Following; Blake's 'the Schoolboy' From Songs Of Innocence And Byron's 'don Juan' Canto 1, Stanzas 37 48

1845 words - 8 pages

Both Blake's poem The Schoolboy and Byron's extract from Don Juan explore the theme of education and the consequences of this type of infringement upon the child who is receiving the education. However, they way that both poets communicate their views is very distinct. In Blake's The Schoolboy we are encouraged to feel pity and sorrow for the child that cannot play, whereas in Byron'sDon Juan extract we see a satirical viewpoint from the narrator's perspective. Both poets appear to be disillusioned with the type of education that was offered at the time and felt that they were confined within the social structure. In Blake we see a general dislike of all education whereas Byron appears to ...view middle of the document...

In contrast to Blake's compact ballad, Byron'sDon Juan is an epic poem that was written late in his life and left unfinished. It's content is also different as it is a complete narrative as opposed to Blake who focuses on a particular moment. Its form is a series of eight line stanzas that complete their own semantic unit. The rhyme scheme is also quite simplistic, like Blake, following ABABCC. This rhyme scheme suits Byron's purpose, as the rhyming couplets that close the stanza are useful for providing the punch line for the joke - an ottava rima. The persona that Byron supposes is that of a 'family friend' - someone who knows the family and individuals well enough to comment on their thoughts and behaviours. The narrative is written in the third person and this distances us from the feelings of the individual characters, but brings is closer to the narrator which Byron relies on for the strong element of humour in Don Juan. It also allows movement to break from the narrative and provides us with the narrator's ironic and witty opinions through his many digressions. On remarking that Donna Inez's 'maids' were 'old' and 'a perfect fright' the narrator advises, 'I recommend as much to every wife'. The strength of Byron's epic relies heavily on this ambiguity of meaning for the ironic content. We know that this is a satirical comment because of previous communications between narrator and reader.Neither poets restrict themselves to a definite consistent metre, they both exploit this poetic device for their own means and to assist the meanings of each poem. Blake opens The Schoolboy with an iambic foot but changes this to a trochaic foot with the use of an anapest foot in the middle of the sentence.x / x / x x / x /'I love / to rise / in a sum/mer morn,'Blake switches his use of metrical feet but stays within the frame of the tetrameter. He exploits this poetic device with using other feet such as the spondee./ x / / x / x /'When the / birds sing / on eve/ry tree;'The syllabic use in these opening lines is interesting as it allows us to concentrate on the content, specifically the imagery, without being drawn into a specific metrical pattern. It also has a natural child like element, rejecting many rigid forms of poetry and suggesting that Blake favoured the more natural use of verse.Another element that contributes to the natural scenes of summer is Blake's use of alliteration in the first stanza. The gentle 's' sounds are repeated throughout presenting us with the sound reminiscent of a gentle summer breeze, 'rise', 'summer', birds sing', 'distant huntsman', 'skylark sings', 'sweet'. This is contrasted greatly with the harder vocal sounds in the last stanza which are suggestive of cruel and coarse winters, 'gather', 'griefs', 'destroy', 'blasts of winter appear'.Similarly, Byron does not force any particularly type of metrical feet upon Don Juan. Rather, the fluid, conversational style is maintained through his use of switching devices and not...

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