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By comparing and contrasting a section of war poems consider the ways in which attitudes to war have been explored and expressed. When considering poetry written after 1900, concentrate on poems written by Wilfred Owen

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Introduction

By comparing and contrasting a section of war poems consider the ways in which attitudes to war have been explored and expressed. When considering poetry written after 1900, concentrate on poems written by Wilfred Owen By looking at several war poems written before and after 1900, I can see that many elements of the types of poetry change greatly in several ways. I will be looking at a selection of war poems written by three different poets, in chronological order, so as to see if the attitudes to war and writing styles change over time or during various stages of the war. Firstly I will be looking at a poem written by Alfred Tennyson about the charge against the Russian gunners in 1854. The poem is called "The Charge of the Light Brigade" as it is exactly what happened. The information that Tennyson used to write the poem came from a newspaper article from the Times. Tennyson has used the information very well to give an accurate and informative, yet poetic description of the charge. Although Tennyson is writing from secondary information, he has still incorporated poetic and rhythmic effects to make the poem follow a rhythm similar to that of a galloping horse. 'Half a league, Half a league, Half a league onward', the distance of the charge is stated at the beginning of the poem as it starts straight into the charge. ...read more.

Middle

'And who wants a seat in the stand?' Pope is suggesting that it would be cowardly to watch it from safety. Both Tennyson and Pope elaborate on the idea of war being heroic and bold, mentioning that although it is tough and you will come back maybe with a bruise and a cut that most men will think they would easily be able to stand. Pope has focused mainly on giving a very trivialized account of war to the generation of men who they want to enlist to fight. Wilfred Owen was a poet in the First World War where he fought and died, in contrast to Pope's and Tennyson's poetry Wilfred Owen portrays a graphic account of his experience and views on war. This way Owen is able to use his knowledge and memories of real-life battles to express in his poetry giving a completely opposite attitude about war compared to the two previous poems I have looked at. In his poem 'Anthem for doomed youth', Owen has used a lot of dramatic language to describe the life of a soldier in the First World War, using aural imagery to describe what the soldiers have to go through everyday. 'What passing-bells for those who die as cattle?' This line right at the beginning of the poem instantly removes any idea of glory and patriotism, the strong contrast being dying as cattle or dying as heroes. ...read more.

Conclusion

As the poem is written in first person, the picture seems much more real and makes the reader feel much more involved within the story that is being told. The final stanza describes in great detail once again the dead soldier from the gas attack. 'Behind the wagon we flung him in.' The soldier is simply thrown into a wagon without any funeral or lasting memory. Once again the reader gets a vivid picture in their mind of what the soldier looks like 'froth -corrupted lungs' and 'devil's sick of sin'. Owen uses a large amount of adjectives to describe him as well using the ugliness of it to emphasise the torture that he has just been through. The encouragement from Sassoon allowed Owen to truly express his final feelings towards war once he had himself been in it. The story that Owen tells in 'Dulce et decorum est' defies the idea of glory from beginning to end. 'If in some smothering dreams you could pace.' Owen lets the readers realise that this nightmare is what really happens in war and that he sees it in reality. Owen finishes the poem with the same amount of power that he has incorporated throughout the poem by finally directly defying the glorious attitude of war; 'The old lie 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori' - Sweet and right it is to die for your country. 11BO -1- ...read more.

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