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A Comparison Of 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' And 'Suicide In The Trenches'

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A Comparison Of 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' And 'Suicide In The Trenches' The lies and illusions promising glory in war were cast aside by two poets during World War One, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. These poets have written many famous poems but when comparing the two most famous poems of the poets, Siegfried Sassoon's "Suicide in the trenches" and Wilfred Owen's "Dulce Et Decorum Est", an immediate conclusion can be drawn about the contents of the poems. "Suicide in the trenches" which gives an impression of despite being in the trenches, men were not only being killed by the brutal pounding of enemy fire but were killing themselves. Wilfred Owen's poem "Dulce Et Decorum Est" however seems to give the opposite impression at first as the Latin saying translates into: "It is fitting and honorable to die for your country," but, ironically, the meaning of the poem is the opposite. The poet has chosen this title deliberately so he can display it in a sarcastic manner. The poem "Dulce Et Decorum Est" is, therefore, not about dying gloriously or patriotically for your country but instead the horrors of the way the soldiers died. ...read more.


Then as the action moves onto a successful gas shell landing near the men and releasing gas as the men struggle to put on their gas masks, "An ecstasy of fumbling" but "But someone still was yelling out and stumbling and floundering like a man in fire or lime" As the gas claims a victim and the man falls prey as though he is being burnt alive. Then "As under a great sea, I saw him drowning." This immediately puts the reader in the eyes of the author with the "I" being inserted and a metaphor which describes the man like a man drowning beneath the waves in the sea but in fact is drowning beneath the cloud mass of gas. Then the poem takes a twisting turn as it turns into the poets nightmare, "In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, he plunges at me" The nightmares and after-shocks of the horrific even the poet experience still resides and haunts the poet's mind seems to grip the reader as well. Owen describes the dreams as "Smothering" like a suffocating nightmare that he can't get out of. ...read more.


Both poets and poems show resentment towards the war which is clear and depict this in the almost graphical imagery of the suffering. However while Sassoon's poem is shocking and is like a blow to the face, Owen's makes you suffer with the victim. It creates a dreary atmosphere then adds to that by the sudden fall of the shell but it doesn't stop there. The poet subjects the reader to go through all the powerful and vivid memories that he himself went through. Describing in detail, every suffering and piece of torture the victim goes through as he moves inches towards death. It has a harsh and unforgiving tone that does not let the reader go and seems to well up and capture you. After reading that, you feel yourself in the situation yourself. A truly horrific situation revisited in nightmares as it condemns war. This is the power of the poem that makes it so gripping over Sassoon's more simple yet factual poem. Sassoon's poem seems to get the bad bit over and done with where Owen's "makes" you live through every second of it, the suffering and the death. ?? ?? ?? ?? Arfan Rauf, S4 English, Mr Bowser ...read more.

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**** 4 STARS

An excellent essay which uses PEA throughout and closely analyses language using accurate terminology. Comments are insightful and perceptive and always supported by a well chosen quote. Analysis is detailed and thoughtful. The writer has clearly understood the techniques used in both poems, including the importance of structure and writes an eloquent conclusion where personal responses to poems are explored.

Marked by teacher Katie Dixon 05/09/2013

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