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Compare and contrast the poets' presentation of war in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Tennyson and 'Dulce et Decorum est' by Wilfred Owen.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the poets' presentation of war in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Tennyson and 'Dulce et Decorum est' by Wilfred Owen. War is a thought-provoking topic. It is the basis of many political events in history that to this day are speculated and analysed, such as World War I. There are many different experiences and feelings that people have towards war, some people think of war as a 'brave and honourable' thing to do as it is mentioned in Wilfred Owens' poem 'Dulce et Decorum est'. However other people see war as evil or corrupt. In 'Dulce et Decorum est' and in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' both poems describe different experiences and thoughts towards war. There is a worldwide view of soldiers that they are strong and tough. During World War I posters where put up in England encouraging young men to join the army. The posters often showed images of strong men standing in a straight line ready to fight, making them appear almost wall like. However in 'Dulce et Decorum est' the first line of the poem describes the soldiers as being 'bent double like old beggars'. The words 'bent double' suggest that the soldiers are in pain and are bending over to cough up blood coming from their lungs, caused by the gas. This image makes the soldiers appear weak and lowers the status of the soldiers to ordinary people. ...read more.

Middle

Tennyson also uses alliteration "Stormed at with shot and shell" which creates another type of fast paced rhythm signifying how the soldiers were constantly shot at in the same way that the letter 's' is repeated in the quote "stormed at with shot and shell". Tennyson shows the reader the high standards of the soldiers and their unquestionable obedience for following orders even in the face of death: "Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die". This line of the poem puts across Tennyson's view of war being honourable and brave, Tennyson shows how even when the soldiers knew that they where going to die they were brave and followed their orders to go into battle. In the final stanza Tennyson creates a sense of the immortality of the soldiers� bravery with a rhetorical question and commands: "when can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred!" Again Tennyson uses this line of the poem to put his point of view across and to show the reader how brave the soldiers were and how he believes that going to war is a brave thing to do. The repetition of 'the six hundred� at the end of each stanza reminds the reader of the loss of life, but at the end of the poem they have become the 'Noble six hundred� and are celebrated as heroes. ...read more.

Conclusion

However Tennyson never actually went to war so although his poem honours the soldiers Tennyson does not explain to the reader why the soldiers should be honoured and why in his opinion it was a good thing for them to go to war. In contrast Wilfred Owens poem is a much better description of what war is like. Owen wrote his poem "Dulce et Decorum est" because he didn't want people to think that it was a noble thing to go to war because he knew what it was really like. I preferred Tennyson's poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" because it wasn't so horrific or as visual as "Dulce et Decorum est". Both poems made me feel sympathetic towards the soldiers but in different ways as "Charge of the Light Brigade" made me feel sympathetic towards the numbers of people that died whereas "Dulce et Decorum est" made me feel sympathetic because of the pain and fear that the soldiers went through. Both poems reflect the two different sides that the media show of war today. Newspapers often print stories about bravery in war but they also print stories about the tragedy of so many people dying for no reason. "Dulce et Decorum est" and "Charge of the Light Brigade" show us that even many years ago people where still torn as to whether going to war is a "sweet and proper thing to do" or whether it is a horrific and tragic thing to happen. ...read more.

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