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Alfred Tennyson and Wilfred Owen present different ideas about War in their poems, 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and 'Dulce et Decorum Est.' Write about these poems and their effect on you.

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Introduction

Tamara Louise Morgan. 28.01.2005 Alfred Tennyson and Wilfred Owen present different ideas about War in their poems, 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and 'Dulce et Decorum Est.' Write about these poems and their effect on you. The first poem, 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred Tennyson was based on a newspaper article he read in the Times Newspaper on November 14th, 1854. The article was about the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War. It described how the soldiers were wounded and killed because one man in their cavalry had made a mistake. It outlined how the plain was strewn with their bodies' and 'steeds rode rider less across the plain.' This article was the inspiration for his poem. The second poem 'Dulce et Decorum Est' was more vividly written, because its poem, Wilfred Owen, was an actual soldier in the first World War, which lasted from 1914-1918. He was too young to become a soldier, so he lied about his age and went away to fight. He was under the impression that War was dignified and sweet because of all the propaganda that was put about to encourage young men to join the army. He then realised that War wasn't as glorified as he had thought and wrote poems to deter other young men, who, like himself, thought it was brave and courageous to die for their country. ...read more.

Middle

'Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die.' Alfred Tennyson uses alliteration to convey the terrible conditions the soldiers had to suffer. 'Stormed at with shot and shell.' This makes the reader feel sympathy for the soldiers. The next line states that they 'rode boldly.' This gives the impression that they were determined to do their duty even if it meant death. He also uses metaphors to show how unlikely it would be for the Light Brigade to defeat the Russians. 'All in the alley of death.' Tennyson uses this phrase four times throughout his poem to emphasise the unlikelihood of this. He also uses a capital 'd' for the word 'death' to reinforce that he thought that the men were going to die. Tennyson's poem is not very detailed as to what happened in the battle, however, Wilfred Owen's poem, 'Dulce et Decorum Est,' was written from his own experiences of War, and therefore more graphic. We learn from his experiences first hand. The poem starts off describing how tired, limp soldiers are making their way towards a distant place of rest. 'Knock-kneed, coughing like hags we cursed through sludge.' Owen describes how men 'marched asleep because they were so tired of the fighting. ...read more.

Conclusion

'An ecstasy of fumbling' and 'But someone was still yelling out and stumbling.' This rhyming technique is not as obvious as Tennyson's because he doesn't use it very often. They also both use metaphors to describe the conditions the soldiers had to work under. 'Plunged in the battery-smoke.' Tennyson uses this metaphor to describe how the men 'plunged' at the Russians through the smoke and fog of the cannons. Owen uses the metaphor 'Under a green sea, I saw him drowning.' Again, this indicates how terrible the conditions of War were and the terrible ways that the soldiers lost their lives. My favourite poem out of the two was 'Dulce et Decorum Est,' it clearly depicts what happened during World War I and Owen then says what he feels. At the start of the poem, I was shocked by how bad the conditions of War actually were. The vivid descriptions show how strongly Owen felt about discouraging other young men not to fall for the same propaganda that he did. It made me realise how lucky I am not to be living in those terrible conditions that he had to endure. I think that the poem does fulfil its purpose of discouraging men from joining the army because it is so graphic and vivid. It explains the true atrocities that War brings and how terribly they can affect lives, even after the War has ended. Owen clearly doesn't want the young men to experience what he has. ...read more.

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