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Compare 'Dulce et decorum est',and 'The charge of the Light Brigade'.

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Charlotte Jenkins 10P War Poetry Comparison Coursework 2003 'Dulce et decorum est' by Wilfred Owen and 'The charge of the Light Brigade' are two poems based on war but with very different themes and messages. 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' is about the Crimean war and the battle that took place at Balaklava, where as 'Dulce et Decorum est' is written from first hand experience about the horrors of World War One. Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et decorum est', which is structured in three verses with an ABAB rhyme scheme. The poet begins by describing the soldiers marching back from war. They are described as being, 'Bent double, like old beggars under sacks.' The poem was written for a dual purpose. It may be said that it is a direct attack upon propagandists, whilst at the same time it is a realistic response to Owens own experiences of war, which do not include any glorious moments. Owen describes a moment in time: 'Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge.' This line illustrates a very realistic experience of war. In fact at no time does Owen ever describe the more glamorous aspects of war, which would encourage people to join the war effort. Contrastingly he describes the harsher elements of war, 'Men marched asleep.' Consequently deterring people who may have been tempted to join up: 'Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. ...read more.


Tennyson uses the speech that the officer gives for the army to charge forward into battle. The command to go forward is repeated at the beginning of the second verse to emphasise the urgency of the situation just as the second stanza of Owens poem gave the urgency of the gas attack. The poet asks the question 'Was there a man dismayed?' To show the bravery of the men in the face of death. This line shows that the men were brave enough even though 'someone had blundered'. This means someone had made a mistake in giving the order for the soldiers to charge, so it emphasises the fact that many of the soldiers were bound to die in the battle. 'Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why' shows that it wasn't their position to ask questions they just followed orders. It shows that the soldiers were willing to die for their commander and country just as the men in Owens poem had been. At the beginning of the third stanza we are hit with 'cannon to the left, cannon to the right, cannon in front of them' this immediately gives the idea that they are trapped and gives the reader the impression that there is no way out. The next line uses harsh sounds, which represent harsh cannon like sounds. There is also personification when Tennyson uses 'jaws of death' and 'mouth of hell' this is graphic and a rather frightening concept and gives the reader ...read more.


The final stanza is in complete contrast to Owens. Owens final stanza left the reader with a very realistic vision of war and thinking about whether your country really was worth dying for and Tennysons poem left us with images of heroic men who died for their country and that all the death was worth it. The final stanza would probably be very comforting to the men's families as it says 'Honour the charge they made, honour the light brigade' This phrase shows that Britain thought of the men as heroes, which they were, but Tennyson didn't paint a very realistic picture and therefore Owens poem had a longer lasting effect as it is very graphic and doesn't try to dilute the horrific reality of war. The last line of each poem sums up the objective of the poem and what its author was trying to get across to the public. Owen was a pacifist and his last line of 'the old lie: Dulce et decorum est' sums up his view on war and how horrible it is and that he is using his poem as negative propaganda. Whereas Tennysons last line of 'Noble six hundred!' shows that he is going for the approach of honour and bravery rather and realism. His job was keep up morale and inform people at the same time but what he neglected was the harsh reality that in fact hundreds of men did die through one persons mistake 'someone had blundered' and as Owen is trying to emphasise the stupidity of war, Tennyson neglects it! ...read more.

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