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

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Introduction

The tradition of war poetry: By comparing and contrasting a selection of war poetry considering the ways in which attitudes to war have been explored and expressed, when considering poetry written by post 1900 concentrate on a selection of poems written by Wilfred Owen. War in general is a vastly expansive topic. It is an inclusive universal experience, which involves people of all ages. As a result of this universality it triggers many feelings in a person to express their emotions; this is normally shown through poetry or novels. Being such an emotive topic, which Shall result from the dire consequences of injury and death of love ones. War is past on via the word of mouth, through stories or ballads, which are usually rhythmical; as it enhances ones ability to memorise. Until poetry was written down as the rhythm became more complex. Now leading to modern day when media have been our source of information. However, because of this, the war poetry we have now is even more emotive and precious to us. Pre-1900 poetry was written such as 'Henry V', 'Charge of the Light Brigade' and 'Vitai Lampada'. Each of these poems shows a different side to war, 'Henry V' shows encouragement and patriotism. Shakespeare ends the speech with a very emphatic line: 'Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry, 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George'' Whereas in both the 'Charge of the Light Brigade' and 'Vitai Lampada' we are shown more the realities of war, and the fatal outcome of misfortunate mistakes. An ideal example of this is in The Charge of the Light Brigade, 'Someone had blundered,' portraying that if there was Acknowledgement of a mistake, which usually is insignificant, meant it must have had fatal consequences. Which are further explained in the poem. Henry V battle in comparisons seems flawless which emphasises his courage as a leader. ...read more.

Middle

However, simply because it takes the form of a sonnet does not mean that is necessarily conforms to constrictions of viewpoint or subject matter. The two poems take very different approaches to the subject of death. Rupert Brooke personalizes it by means of words like 'I' and 'me', and by making the subject matter precise to one incidence. This dissimilarity to Wilfred Owens's poem, where he generalizes a total cohort, and talks of the defeat of millions of people. Brooke uses imagery in his poem that is very vibrant and evocative, and gives a somewhat idealistic view of death, such as when he talks of England; he talks of 'her flowers to love, her ways to roam'. This representation is underlined later on, with the phrase: 'whom England bore', where England is portrayed as a mother figure. Also, in the second stanza, the line: 'A pulse in the eternal mind' Brooke presents the possibility of an after-life, a encouraging thought for a man considering death. Images of peace and tranquillity tone down the callous reality of death. Owen purposely does not protect the reader from the realism, but instead uses expressions such as: 'Only the monstrous anger of guns' to hold the reader. Owen uses 'O' sounds frequently to make the connection with the word 'no', giving the poem a very negative, almost pessimistic feel. Instead of making his view negative, they long vowel sounds create a smoother, slower pace, emphasizing the contemplativeness of the poem Even though the subject matter is the same, the two poets take very different slants on it. Owen condemns the act of war because of its huge, fatal consequences that take the lives of so many innocent men. In the opening line: 'What passing bells for those who die as cattle?' Owen suggests that war is like a slaughter, and this underlines the futility of war that Owen is tying to present. ...read more.

Conclusion

Gas! Quick boys!' This prosody, or change in meter, together with the use of monosyllabic words conveys a sense of urgency that grasps the attention of the reader effectively The rhythm changes here a second time, where it often breaks out of a regular pattern to give the feel of the awkwardness and difficulty of movement amongst the men. Owens's use of the word ecstasy is in comparison to the drug causing 'frenzied wildness' to give an image of many men scrambling over each other and themselves to reach their gas masks. The writer goes on to talk of how he watches the man 'drowning' through suggestive verbs like 'guttering, choking, drowning'. He feels 'helpless', because he cannot assist the wounded. Also tying in with a later subject. Bringing these into focus so that expectantly the reader will be able to correspond on a personal level. Owen also approaches the reader's sensitivity to the subject of war by deliberately bombarding them with images, sounds and tastes that would disgust them. In the line: '...If you too could hear with every jolt the breath come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs' Owen tries to shock the reader with both images and sounds that would sicken the reader. Which he manages effectively? The poetry I have analysed had been variations of either patriotic, blunt propaganda, or showing the reality of war. There are subtle differences between all of the poets because poets such as Wilfred Owen, who spent most of his time in combat has written, using vivid imaged of death and injury. In contrast to a poet such as Rupert Brook, who didn't see much combat, so unlike Owen, he wrote of the glorifying, optimistic views of warfare. War poetry on a whole covers many more aspects other than death and injury. It may also include aspects of propaganda and encouragement. From all the poetry I feel personally that the most emotive poem, which caused the greatest impact, was Dulce et Decorum est. This is because if its forthright views against the propaganda, leading many young na�ve men to their deaths. ...read more.

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