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Comparing and Contrasting the two poems:"An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" by WB Yeats and "Anthem for Doomed Youth" by Wilfred Owen

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Introduction

Comparing and Contrasting the two poems: "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" by WB Yeats and "Anthem for Doomed Youth" by Wilfred Owen WB Yeats was an extremely successful Irish poet who was extraordinarily patriotic and proud to be Irish. He played his part in the Irish Renaissance at the beginning of the 1900s. Although he was a proud Irishman he chose to show his patriotism through his poetry instead of political or military action. Through his poems he spoke of national heroes' bravery and well doings instead of their political status or where they stood in society. He praised people who did things for a cause or beliefs; for example he described the Easter Rising as a "terrible beauty". WB Yeats scarcely wrote about war but when he did he criticized the soldiers that did not believe they were fighting for a cause, had any purpose, knowing they will most likely lose their life or just go because they think they have nothing to lose. This opinion of Yeats' is what this poem is based on and it is Major Robert Gregory who demonstrated the actions he criticizes. Gregory had the "I have nothing to lose" attitude towards it decided he would do something he enjoyed while he died. The poem states that he went to war for "a lonely impulse of delight" and he did not care about any "cheering crowds" or "duty". ...read more.

Middle

He did not see any meaning or point in the past, future or present and saw it all as a "waste of breath". The message that WB Yeats is trying to portray through this poem is that there is no sense in going to war if you don't have any cause to fight for or don't think that it has any reward. He does not necessarily dislike war, he just dislikes the soldiers that fight for no cause. He gets this point across very clearly and easily. The rhythm of "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death" is very monotonous because there are no stanzas or phrases included in the poem. The rhyme is also just a very basic ABABCDCD pattern so this makes will make the reader find it very basic and it almost give you image of Major Robert Gregory thinking about going off to war without taking anything accept his own selfishness into consideration. "Anthem for Doomed Youth" is very different in this way. Although it has no stanza pattern and it is all just one, it has two sections that stand out to me: The octet at the beginning and the sestet that starts after halfway. Both of these sections start off with a question, then the rest of it is the answer. The set out of the poem is a sonnet, which is a very significant point. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is an imagery of glory, honour and pride throughout it and this will help the readers realise this is not what Gregory is fighting for, if they have not already. The alliteration used in repeating the word "nor" emphasises this greatly: nothing except his impulse of delight could make him go and fight. "Somewhere in the clouds above" would almost definitely make the audience disagree with what Yeats is saying on behalf of Gregory. Firstly because - unless they were suicidal - they would not want to "meet their fate" immediately at their own choice and the picture painted in your head after reading the first two lines is not a pretty one (being shot down in the air an crash landing to your death). Anthem for Doomed Youth's imagery is so very different because it is mainly based on Wilfred Owen's trench experiences so you get samples of that: "rifles' rapid rattle". BUT there is another side to the imagery used in Owen's poem; religious imagery from funerals: "candles may be held", "from prayers or bells". There is quite a lot of them used basically because the theme of the poem is to recognise the bitter, unknown deaths of soldiers and to compare them with regular deaths along with funerals and the mourning of neighbors or relatives. After all, the only positive thing the soldiers get is "boys eyes, shining with the holy glimmers of good-byes". Ian Atkinson 11A ...read more.

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