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A Comparison Between Dulce Et Decorum Est and Pro Patria

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A COMPARISON BETWEEN DULCE ET DECORUM EST AND PRO PATRIA The First World War was the first truly modern war. Its atrocities and huge death toll changed people's views of war drastically. Pro patria, by Owen Seaman and Dulce et Decorum est by Wilfred Owen are both war poems written around the time of the First World War, and as such share certain surface properties. However, the two poems differ hugely in their implicit meaning and intentions, giving the two poems many subtle differences between their texts. Both poems use metaphor. Seaman uses metaphor when mentioning the "brute sword" and soldiers using "storied 'scutcheons", a blaringly inaccurate image to conjure up the idea of chivalry and knights in shining armor, giving that the fighting would be fair and glorious, as opposed to the mass slaughter and unimaginable tortures spelled out in Owen's Dulce et Decorum est. seaman also makes use of anthropomorphisation, making England out as some great, good but indistinct creature. He refers to England as a being of some sort, writing of it's pleas for peace at "the nations bar", stating that England needed to go to war to keep its honor. ...read more.


Both poems are trying to affect the public's views on the war. Pro Patria is essentially a propaganda poem, an invention used to great effect during the Boer war and revived at the advent of the First World War. The poems early references to honor and duty are to provoke young men into singing up for the army, fabricating images of glorious victory in their minds, and carefully avoiding the nitty gritty mechanics of it, the living in squalid trenches and the likelihood of death. The later sections of the poem are addressed to the parents of the "warrior sons" urging them to keep a stiff upper lip, or as he puts it "to hush all vulgar clamor of the street". The reason for this is that if every time a mother received a letter from the M.O.D telling her that her son was dead she were to rush out into the street screaming "OH MY GOD, MY POOR HARRY! HE'S GONE!" other mothers and fathers would have reservations about sending their sons off to war. Therefore the silence of bereaved parents of "worrier sons" went some way to helping the recruiting sergeant's job. ...read more.


Pro Patria's penultimate lines rhyme best with test, and Dulce et Decorum est rhymes zest with est in the same lines (in relation to the end). Both poems encapsulate their message in the last lines, the finishing pleas of Seamen for parents to send their sons to war, and the solemn Latin verse of Dulce et Decorum est warning people not to indulge in jingoism: "My friend you would not tell with such high zest, To children..., the old lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori (How sweet and fitting it is to die for your country) Both poems are from around the time of the First World War, Pro Patria was written just before the outbreak, written during the conflict. I believe that the stance taken by the authors stems from their experience of the war and the time at which they were written. Seaman did not and could not know what was to happen in the Great War, as it was yet to happen when he wrote the poem. Owen, on the other hand, had been at the front line, and had seen what he was writing about, and felt a need to tell others what he had seen, as opposed to Seaman who was writing for the government. ...read more.

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