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Compare and contrast Rupert Brooke's 'The Soldier' with Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est'

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Introduction

Compare and contrast Rupert Brooke's 'The Soldier' with Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est' Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen are both poets who fought for England in the First World War and both base their poetic material almost entirely on the situation they were in. However, distinct differences can be seen in their individual approaches to their common theme of war. An example of this difference can be seen in the two poems The Soldier and Dulce et Decorum Est, by Rupert Brook and Wilfred Owen respectively. They are both concerned with the theme of war, but each gives out a completely different message to the reader as their own morals and interpretations of this theme oppose each other. The Soldier gives out an optimistic tone, making war out to be a peaceful and heroic act, whilst in Dulce et Decorum Est, the tone is more sombre and angry, making out the same war and situation that Dulce et Decorum Est is in, to be a grim and insufferable disease. Both the poets, Brooke and Owen, wrote in the First World War and were some of the fathers of World War poetry. Both the men entered the war at a very young age and both being strongly patriotic towards England. The Soldier was written in 1914, a year before Brook died, and Owen wrote Dulce et Decorum Est in 1917, three years after the First World War had started.

Middle

A direct address to the readers is also used, using a persuasive technique, especially in the last stanza, for example in line 21, 'If you could hear...' and in line 25, 'My friend, you would not tell...' This is so that the reader would feel sympathetic towards him and the soldiers. It is almost as if Owen is begging the reader to understand. Through describing this man's tragic death and his burial, Wilfred Owen tries to change the views of the public. The use of fricatives symbolizes the harsh reality of war as by using fricatives, for example a hard 'c' is used in words such as 'corrupted' and 'cud', it becomes as though the reader can actually hear the person dying and so writes in a very vivid form. This soldier died by breathing in poisonous gas which resulted in him 'guttering, chocking and drowning.' Then Owen describes of how the man's dead body was treated no better than an animals as he was 'flung' into a wagon and they watched his 'white eyes writhing in his face.' This shows the pain he was in, as he was in the brink of death. The evil of war is also shown in line 20, where it says, 'like a devil sick of sin!' This is to illustrate that as devil is destined to commit evil until the end of time, it has come to the extent that even the devil is sick of the amount of evil and torture around it.

Conclusion

By believing in this, Rupert Brooke makes himself believe that he should sacrifice his own life for England and by doing this he would be returning a favour of being born British and so believes it is an honour to go to war, and an even greater honour to die in battle for one's country and in return, portrays in his poem an image of one dying a painless death. Such a view is in the Victorian tradition of war which viewed it as a glorious and noble enterprise, with such poems as Tennyson's 'Change of the Light Brigade'. This patriotic fever was simply carried on by Brooke who still saw warfare in terms of duels and honour. Owen on the other hand witnessed twentieth century war in all its cruel destructiveness and as a consequence brought war poetry into the modern era. Therefore, it would be concluded that the only reason why the two poets have conflicting ideologies of war, is time. Brooke had died early on in the war and so wrote his poetry during the beginning of the war and his ideas of patriotism and honour in battle were still fresh. As for Owen, he lived to see most of the war, and saw the reality. The veil was lifted from his eyes. What he wrote, many could argue, was what should be known of war, but is perhaps best forgotten. YASIR SHAH ENGLISH - GCSE COURSE WORK

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