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Compare the different attitudes to war shown the poetry of Tennyson and Owen.

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Introduction

Compare the different attitudes to war shown the poetry of Tennyson and Owen. In this essay I am going to compare the poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson and Wilfred Owen, which have very different attitudes to war. " The Charge of the Light Brigade" written by Alfred Lord Tennyson in 1854 has a theme of romantic honourable fighting for the queen and country. This poem was written from a news article by W.H. Russell for The Times about the famous charge on the 25th October 1854. "Dulce et Decorum est" was written by Captain Wilfred Owen in the worst winter of 1917. From primary evidence Owen questions the title in a sarcastic way to bring out sympathy and the true pity of warfare. One major difference between the poems is that Tennyson is pro war and feels that it is "sweet and fitting to die for ones country". While Owen reveals the true horror and sorrow of war. However he was neither a coward nor an anti war poet. The background of the poets can affect their view of warfare. As Tennyson was Poet Laureate of his generation and also a Lord, he wrote poems quickly, often in a day. "The Charge of the Light Brigade" was written on a Sunday, the information mostly coming from Russell's article. ...read more.

Middle

Which creates a sense of excitement. This, with the use of fast pace narrative is very evident in Tennyson's poem, giving the reader an idea of the speed of the horses. He then describes the cavalry charging down the valley: "Half a league, Half a league, Half a league onward," The lines reveal the pace of the cavalry and as their pace quickens, the action in the story quickens. With the Light Brigade metaphorically charging in to the "valley of death" Tennyson uses monosyllabic words too quicken the pace within the poem. Owen also uses monosyllabic words to create the opposite effect of depression and tiredness. He also used a excellent metaphoric description of exhaustion: "Drunk with Fatigue" This gives us the vision of the men as being exhausted, some of them staggering as they leave the trench. He also shocks the reader, using this metaphoric description. Owen sees and describes the "Great" war as: "Of Obscene as cancer bitter as the cud" This simile creates the imagery for the reader of horror, terror and pure evil of warfare, as cancer was and still, is a feared disease which struck at people with consequences. He compares cancer to the war of which he is fighting. This imagery implies I believe that most of the men fighting in the war didn't want to fight really but were made to. ...read more.

Conclusion

It creates very vivid imagery for the reader of the poem an image of destruction, horror and pure evil. It is not at all like the romantic imagery shown in Tennyson's poem of honour, courage and glory for the ultimate sacrifice. So as you can see there is a vivid contrast of warfare. From basic evil in "Dulce et Decorum est" to the romance in "The Charge Of The Light Brigade", which in my opinion, is the better time of warfare for the conditions of the men. So both poets have different views of warfare. In this essay I have looked at both types of philosophy, one is of pity the other of honour. However through the conclusion of this essay I want to make my point that, no type of warfare is good for anyone. However, I am not saying that all war is pointless because it is not. There comes a point when diplomacy and peaceful negotiation has failed, that there is no choice but to take up arms in the protection of today's freedoms and peace. Through reading this essay I hope you can remember and honour the people who have fought in all wars everywhere and died for the sides they have fought for. In this new millennium let us bring world peace, disarm our nuclear arsenals and solve all world problems. Let us join together as one family of mankind and explore our world and ultimately the universe. Daniel Pearce 1 ...read more.

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