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Compare and Contrast Wilfred Owen Dulce et Decorum est with the Agincourt speech Shakespeare/Henry V.

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Compare and Contrast Wilfred Owen Dulce et Decorum est with the Agincourt speech Shakespeare/Henry V It is unusual at this time when war is looming in Iraq that we would be comparing a War Poem and speech King Henry V made before the battle of Agincourt. Wilfred Owen said, "The Poetry is in the Pity." The main purpose of his poems was to show people the reality of war, and he would be turning in his grave with the thought of another major war. Wilfred Owen was killed on the 4th November 1918, aged 25, a week before the end of the War. Wilfred Owen didn't write poems to become famous or make money like Shakespeare. In this poem, Dulce et Decorum est, Owen describes the scene of the soldiers trudging back through the mud from a battle when suddenly there is a gas attack and one soldier is too late in putting on his gas mask and is gassed. I will now look at the poem in more detail. In the opening two lines we are unaware that these are male soldiers. They are "bent double" and described as "old beggars" and "coughing hags" not young soldiers but as old men or women deprived of all humanity. ...read more.


Cud is appropriate for the image of blood gargled up as cud is an animal routine were they bring food back up from their stomach. Owen is sarcastic in the line, "You would not tell with such high zest to children, "meaning that you wouldn't go home and tell children who want to fight or join the army. Owen challenges that it is not fitting to die for your country and mocks the old Latin phrases saying that it has tricked many young men for many years to join the army. He finishes with "the old lie: Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori " It is sweet and fitting to die for your native land. Shakespeare's speech before the battle of Agincourt is completely different to the Owen poem. In the Shakespeare speech it is about glorifying war and building up the soldiers' hopes and willing them on to go out and fight, compared to the Owen war poem where it is about a soldier who dies a violent death and about turning young men away from the army and the war and saying it is not sweet and fitting to die for your country. The men doubt Henry's commitment to the battle so he must make a speech to get them ready for the battle and tell them why they would want to fight. ...read more.


On comparing the two pieces they are both very different but with a few similarities. For example in both men are demoralised. In the Owen poem there is no sense of solidarity, no names are given, the men are barely even alive while in the Shakespeare speech unity and futernity is stressed, you're not aware of where it takes place but there is a very clear view of what the future will be like. In both pieces the idea of the reader is to change the mind of the reader but their aims are completely different. Owen uses his poem to horrify the audience, to turn us away from war by graphically describing the death of a young soldier. Shakespeare shows no hint of death or horror and is preparing the minds of the soldiers. Owen choice of adjective and verbs all enhance the pain and suffering of the soldiers. The Latin proverb that has been honoured for years has been left exposed by Owen at the end of the poem. Shakespeare wrote his speech on a particular day for a particular event. One thing Owen said, which was strange for a poet to say, was that, "All a poet can do today is warn, that is why a true poet must be truthful." Nigel Neill English Coursework ...read more.

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