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Compare 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen', 'Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred Lord Tennyson and 'Who's for the Game?' by Jessie Pope with reference to attitudes, poetic devices and influences.

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Introduction

Task - compare 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen', 'Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred Lord Tennyson and 'Who's for the Game?' by Jessie Pope with reference to attitudes, poetic devices and influences. Wilfred Owen is the narrator of 'Dulce Et Decorum Est', a poem aimed at the people who were not actively involved in the war, fighting on the bloody battlefields, and therefore do not have first-hand experience of the horrors. He is writing from a period of time after the war, looking back in retrospect and remembering his experiences. The poem is trying to dispel the myth that the men who died and suffered during the war were heroes, fighting patriotically for their country, when in fact they died unnecessary deaths, their war efforts futile and in vain. Owen is attempting to inform people of the terror, anguish and torment which was experienced by the soldiers during the war. In the first stanza, the scene is of weary, exhausted soldiers walking in the actual time of war. They are returning to base camp, where Owen uses a slow, halting rhythm to suggest how much pain and misery the soldiers are encountering and to imitate how slow they are walking. The choice of vocabulary in this verse is very effective in communicating the message of fatigue, by using the noun 'sludge' and the verbs 'trudge' and 'haunting'. The second stanza continues the tense, speaking in the past and still set at war. The rhythm here is suddenly quickened, displaying the men's panic, by use of punctuation - exclamation marks and short sentences are used to create excitement. An unexpected twist in the third verse sees Owen change abruptly to the present tense, but still using past tense lexis, describing the nightmares that continually haunt him. This carries on into the final stanza where Owen vividly relives his terrifying memories and concludes the poem. ...read more.

Middle

The last stanza is a culmination of the encouragements given by Pope throughout the poem, using imperatives and slang phrases, 'Come along lads', to urge potential soldiers to join the army, and writing in a direct yet colloquial manner. Throughout the previous three stanzas, emphasis on the pronoun 'who' is heavy, lending an almost enigmatic air to the poem, but in the final verse the use of the second person singular personal pronouns 'you' and 'your' allow the poet to speak directly to the reader, making them feel wanted and needed. The use of parenthesis, whereby extra information is added unnecessarily, further adds to the informal mood of the poem, with 'not much' and 'but you'll come on alright'. Personification in the final stanza gives 'your country' human characteristics, to make the reader feel adequate, equal and important to the nation and its greatness. The atmosphere created in the poem is one of patriotism, nobility and heroism, although underlying tones of negativity can be felt when Pope uses words such as 'red', a colour symbolic of danger which could also represent blood, an idea which could lead to death, and 'fight' which is a more obvious, evocative and accurate depiction of the 'game' of war. In the second stanza, the slang phrase 'give his country a hand' may mean 'to help out' in context, but perhaps, although absurd, could imply a more sinister and literal meaning? The poem consists of quatrains containing an A, B rhyme scheme, suggesting order and harmony, whilst the pace and tempo of the stanzas echoes the marching of the soldiers returning from war, suggesting that they have survived and that war is indeed a 'game'. Stanza one of Alfred Lord Tennyson's 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' begins on a positive note, with an obvious atmosphere of patriotism. It starts with action: 'Half a league...onward', creating a sense of excitement and providing the reader with images of galloping horses in the cavalry charge. ...read more.

Conclusion

'All the world wondered' suggests that the people at home were not always informed of important events, so Tennyson was bringing this to their attention, making the public believe him to be more credible and reliable since he was providing them with this information in a comprehensible manner. Also, poets like Owen may have offended the families of soldiers, speaking ill of their deceased loved ones who they had believed to have died for the nation when in fact the reality was very different, according to his poems. Tennyson was not actively involved in the Crimean War which he writes about; he was in Britain during the campaign. He therefore relied solely on accounts from soldiers, most likely high ranking officers who did not endure the terrible ordeals that common soldiers were put through at this time, and also his imagination. This is reflected in his view of warfare, where he does not examine the dreadful realities of war and only lightly touches upon the violence ('sabring the gunners', 'shot and shell') focusing instead on the honour and glory involved. The images created in the poem are very majestic and noble, with an atmosphere of glory and heroism. Elements of fearlessness and danger add thrill and excitement to the poem, 'into the jaws of Death' and 'charge for the guns'. The images created by these poetic techniques may appeal to potential soldiers, encouraging them to enrol in the army and boosting the morale of existing soldiers. The short words and short lines play an important part in speeding up the poem and the action. There is little punctuation in the text, ensuring that the pace is not impeded, conveying the excitement at the men's bravery. In conclusion, the Charge of the Light Brigade does not have the impact and realism to convey and justify the opinions contained in it effectively, as Owen's 'Dulce' does. It is an imaginative outlook on war and provides little evidence of the pointless and futile mass-slaughtering and grim actuality that war brings. ...read more.

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