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A Comparison of Two Poems: Dulce et Decorum est and Charge of the Light Brigade.

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Introduction

A Comparison of Two Poems: Dulce et Decorum est and Charge of the Light Brigade In this essay I will be comparing two war poems. The poems, Dulce et Decorum est, by Wilfred Owen and Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord-Tennyson came from different generations; Owen's is written from his own experiences during the first world war; Lord-Tennysons poem was written from the safety of his own home during the Crimean war. The only real similarity between the two poems is that they were both written about the battlefield. Owen's poem is a heartfelt plea against military propaganda, while Tennyson's poem is propaganda. To understand these poems more, we must look at the poet's lives: * Wilfred Owen led a rather comfortable life as a tutor until he enlisted in October 1915. Owen was an Officer in the 2nd Artists Rifles Officers Training Corps and was recommended for the Military Cross. Probably one of Owens most poignant memories of the war was the subject if this poem, the death of a fellow soldier and friend in a brutal mustard gas attack. On November 4th 1918, Owen tragically died in a German Machine gun attack, just seven days before the armistice. His parents received the news of his death on November 11th, while the bells were ringing out the end of the war. * Alfred "Eccentric" Lord-Tennyson began writing at the age of 8 and had written most of a blank verse play by the age of 14. ...read more.

Middle

I can see this by the use of "you" in his poem. Upon first looking at the poem you may thing that it is directed at anybody but when you really start to analyse the poem you can see that it, in fact is talking to those people who promote propaganda. "If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing In his face, His hanging face, like a devils sick of sin;" This experience would be unpleasant for anybody, but for someone who has not been to war, but promotes it all the same, it would be torture. In stanza three we see the real meaning to Owen's poem. This stanza sums up his whole poem and directs it to the promoters of war. I think that if I promoted war, reading this poem would make me feel awful. Tennyson however writes exactly about what Owen begs people not to do. Tennyson writes to the people. People who may want to enlist. Being the Poet Laureate, Tennyson did not see the war but relied on the accounts of the soldiers. Probably high ranking generals, who were far away from any danger. This poem may have been read to young boys training to fight as it tells them that they will die a hero's death, not a fool's one. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Dulce et Decorum est every other line rhymes. This again creates a powerful effect, and links the poem together in it's structure. Finally let us look at the closing lines of the poems. In The Charge of the Light Brigade the closing lines are really the last stanza. They sum up what the poem is about and again talk of bravery and heroics. It poses the question "When can their glory fade?". This is a rhetorical question because it expects no answer, only the knowledge that their glory will never fade. The ending to Dulce et Decorum est is very powerful. You could just read the end of it and understand what the poem is about. It addresses it's intended audience and uses Latin very cleverly to create a very hard-hitting, saddening final line. "The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori." Personally I think that Dulce et Decorum est is the better of the two poems. It addresses war realistically and tells the truth and the raw details of war. It has a clear pace and the words really cut through you. I dislike Charge of the Light Brigade for its treatment of war. It makes it sound like an all right event, when it is much the opposite. Although I do admire the way Tennyson has made such an awful thing sound almost romantic. Poetry Comparisons Dulce et Decorum est and Charge of the Light Brigade 03/05/07 Hannah Gumbrill ...read more.

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