• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast the various poetic treatments of the theme of death in war in 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke's 'The Rich Dead'

Extracts from this document...


ENGLISH LITERATURE COURSEWORK Compare and contrast the various poetic treatments of the theme of death in war in at least two poems you have studied. It seems that war in society is inevitable - for long as it has been historically documented, war has always been present. Although the tactics by which wars have been fought and won have developed throughout the ages, the outcome has always remained the same - with the untimely deaths of many men. It is this idea of war that has provoked intense controversy, with many people believing it merely results with death and destruction, whilst others regard it as a glorious enterprise and an altogether heroic adventure. During the First World War, poets depicted these diverse aspects of war, with the opposing attitudes clearly recognised in the work of Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke. Owens anthology of war poetry is characterised by his vivid and graphic detail concerning war and all its brutal consequences. He also revolts against pro-war propagandists, not only denouncing their beliefs but also by the way they brainwashed na�ve young boys into believing it was honourable to die for your country. One such advocate of this idea was Rupert Brooke, his work recognisable by a profound sense of patriotism. He wrote to depict the courage and excitement of war rather than the harsh realities staring them in the face, by means to entice young men into enrolling in the army. This is exactly what Owen was objecting to. I have chosen to study in depth the poems-'Dulce Et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen-an ironically titled poem portraying the wasteful futility of young lives lost at war and 'The Rich Dead' by Rupert Brooke-a poem honouring the death of a war hero. I feel that both poems effectively reflect the national mood of the different viewpoints at that time. From the title of Owen's poem, 'Dulce et Decorum Est' (translating as 'It is sweet and right') ...read more.


"But someone was yelling out and stumbling And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime..." The language is very vivid. The use of the simile comparing the dying man to a man 'in fire or lime' is particularly effective as I can visualise this paralysed soldier clutching at his throat, gasping for air; grappling at Owen, battling for assistance. From this graphic depiction one can feel Owen's sense of helplessness and overwhelming sense of regret, as he looks on unable to help his dying comrade. I noticed that at the end of this line Owen breaks off, as if words fail to describe the full horror of the situation. Owen goes on to relate how it felt actually witnessing such an atrocity: "Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning." 'Dim' and 'misty' recapitulate the swirling poison gas as it further obscures the already limited vision of the soldier. The mans blind panic and agonising movements are compared to someone drowning under water as he does indeed drown in his own lungs. There is possible wordplay on 'panes' as Owen emphasises his pain felt through the panes of the gasmasks. Owen's technique of focussing on one mans individual suffering is highly effective. His pain is intense, personal and touching. There is a time shift in the poem as the doomed soldier revisits the poet's subconscious mind. The image of this has obviously left a lasting impression on Owen as he describes in the line: "In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning." The experience infiltrates his dreams, and haunts him. The onomatopoeic words, 'guttering' and 'choking' lend an aural dimension to the poem. They force us to hear as well as envisage the dying soldier struggling to breathe. The mechanical listing of words 'guttering, choking, drowning' emphasises Owen's inability to communicate his feelings and thoughts coherently. ...read more.


Again, the mood is full of triumphalism and the gift of nobleness is highlighted by the use of capital letter 'N'. The poet brings his unusual argument to its logical conclusion that the war has somehow been the salvation, rather than the destruction of our society. The poems concluded that by dying in war the soldiers have eradicated any sense of loss and have accomplished instead the vastly superior destiny of eternal glory. The war, the accounts of their deaths, the fighting and the battles will all be documented and recorded in our history books, in poems and in stories. It will forever form part of our culture, our history. The soldiers' names and memories will be etched into our pasts and will thus shape our future. The poem itself is an act of commemoration for such fallen heroes as 'The Rich Dead'. Of the poems I have studied, my personal preference is by far the work of Wilfred Owen as I feel he represents the reality of war more successfully than his contemporaries do. His poetry may be grim and disturbing but his writing has the effect of personally involving you into the poem. Owen strives to provide a more realistic image of the wholly unavoidable human suffering that war brings. I think the following line from the song "The Green Fields of France" reflects this image accurately when the writer describes his feelings while standing in a World War One graveyard: "To a man's blind indifference to his fellow man, To a whole generation who were butchered and damned" Rupert Brooke's work on the other hand is aiming to paint a pretty picture of the harsh realities of war. Although in theory the romantic principles presented by Brooke may seem attractive, to apply them to real life is na�ve and idealistic. War might bring glory on a wider scale, but to claim that a soldier's needless death in appalling conditions is honourable is simply untrue. War may well be inevitable but it is senseless and can never be justified. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explore how the theme of love is presented in Birdsong and a selection of ...

    4 star(s)

    The love and patriotism promoted by the government and believed by those at home to be sincere, was in fact a fa�ade used to lure men to their own deaths, a disguise that was uncovered by soldiers themselves; men who had experienced it all first hand, most of whom died

  2. Marked by a teacher

    'Who for the Game' By Jesse Pope, 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' By Wilfred Owen, ...

    4 star(s)

    She refers to the war as a sport maybe a football or a rugby game where a player would return with a minor injury such as a crutch that would be their souvenir from war she thinks that every man would want an injury rather than lying in the trenches

  1. Peer reviewed

    "With Specific focus on Wilfred Owen poems Disabled, Mental cases, Dulce et Decorum est, ...

    4 star(s)

    You can see the distinct similarities between his own works in Suicide in the Trenches and many of Wilfred Owens's poems. His poem focuses on how horrible fighting in the trenches was and how ignorant the people were at home, who had no idea what was going on at war.

  2. How does Wilfred Owen present the horror of war in 'Dulce et Decorum est'. ...

    He also uses harsh constantan sounds. This is reflecting the sounds of the firing of rifles and shells; they would be short sharp sounds. All these things give us a picture in our head of life in the trenches. This helps a lot to the horror of war as an image is more powerful then words.

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

    knew what war had really meant and so he uses his poetry as a means to express the views of soldiers of war to people who have no experience of it; namely the public. He uses the analogy of war as being like a plague or a lethal disease that

  2. Compare and contrast how Wilfred Owen and Isobel Thrilling portray the horror, suffering and ...

    The slowing down is as if he is drowning. The gas is suffocating the soldier and it is if he is drowning under the sea because it as described using the metaphor the "green sea" . The next verse is the on lookers personal reaction. He is feeling guilty about what has happened. "Guttering as he plunges at me."

  1. Compare and contrast "Disabled" by Wilfred Owen and "The Soldier" by Rupert Brooke.

    He also feels rejected, "the women's eyes passed from him". "How cold and late", represents isolation and depression. The repetition at the end of the verse could emphasise how dependant he now is on other people. "Why don't they come And put him to bed?

  2. The Theme of the Pity of War in "Dulce Et Decorum Est" and "Anthem ...

    allows us to understand and comprehend the extreme agony the soldier is experiencing, but also through the vivid imagery of the two, Owen allows the reader to glimpse at the traumatic situation. Also through the description of the man?s ?white eyes writhing in his face? and his ?froth-corrupted lungs/obscene as

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work