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Comparing poems 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'.

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Introduction

Amy Taylor 11.2 Comparing poems 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' Both 'Dulce et Decorum Est� and 'The Charge of the Light Brigade� are poems about war and the death of soldiers, but they express two very different attitudes to war. Tennyson�s poem 'Light Brigade' shows that war is about being heroic and brave, even though six hundred soldiers were killed because of a simple error "Someone had blundered" but they were still heroic. Owen�s poem 'Dulce', on the other hand presents the horror of war and unexpected death near trenches and it also shows us how the line "Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori" (it is sweet and fitting to die for your country), is fiction. It is said that Tennyson wrote 'Light Brigade' after reading about the battle of Balaclava in 1854, he himself was a civilian so had not personally had experience or seen the battle that he describes. Unlike Owen who was a soldier at the time he wrote 'Dulce'. Tennyson's poem was written to raise the morale of people at home about the soldiers in the Crimean war, not to tell them the truth about the horrors of war. Compared to Tennyson who wrote his poem as a civilian, Owen wrote 'Dulce' while he was serving as an officer towards the end of the first world war. ...read more.

Middle

Owen based his poem around the single line "Dulce et Decorum Est Pro patria mori" (it is sweet and fitting to die for your country), he wanted to show that it is far from sweet and fitting but horrible and unjustified, from start to finish. "... you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old lie: Dulce et Decorum Est Pro patria mori" This final stanza sums up what Owen wanted to get across to the reader, that if you knew the truth as he did you wouldn't be so happy to tell children about the war just for a bit of glory for your country, it's not something suitable for children's ears. He gives this image of the awfulness of war from the very start in stanza one. He gives a different image of the soldiers from what you would expect, soldiers are thought of as respectable, smart and proud men but the picture Owen paints is unpleasant and ghastly. The soldiers are described as "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed..." Owen puts across the truth to the reader about how the soldiers felt and looked like and it adds to how unpleasant the war was for the men "Men marched asleep. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fact that they "flung him in" says just how death at war was not respectable and every dead body was treated as a piece of meat not a human being anymore, surely this alone shows how unjust it was to die for your country. Owen gives us a detailed description of what it was personally like to be in the war, he writes in first person "I saw..." and describes one mans death which he experienced close up. Compared to Tennyson's impersonal "Nobel six hundred" which attacked and weren't taken by surprise while unprepared. Owen's wants us to imagine for ourselves what it was like as if we were there experiencing the ordeal and not to glorify the war anymore it is not a glorious thing. Tennyson wants us to think of the war as a Nobel thing to go and fight and it is honourable if you show braveness and fearlessness, the two poems are completely the opposite to each other. I think that out of the two 'Dulce' is the most touching and powerful, it is the closest you could get to war, the tragedy and pain without actually being there. It helps that Owen was there and can relate to the ordeal himself and so can help people to understand the truths and meanings of war, it uncovers lies of the propaganda and criticises war in general. ...read more.

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