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Comparison of 'The Soldier' was written by Wilfred Owen and 'Dulce et Decorum est' was written by Rupert Brooke.

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Introduction

Choose two poems about war. Compare and contrast how each poem deals with the theme of war. 'The Soldier' was written by Wilfred Owen and 'Dulce et Decorum est' was written by Rupert Brooke. They were both written during World War 1, 'The Great War' between 1914 and 1918. World War 1 was a major defining event in Europe. This war was between England and Germany and it was mostly staged in the muddy battlefields of France and Belgium. The type of writing which both poets use was developed as a response to this war and it is known as 'war poetry'. Both writers write with authority as Brooke was in the English Navy during the war and Owen was in the British Army. Sadly, Owen was killed just one week before the end of the war. A lot of the soldiers were not killed in battle, their own living conditions helped to kill them as diseases like 'trench foot' were very common in the harsh and grim trenches. Even though both poets write with differing opinions to war, they have one item in common, what it actually meant to be a soldier in World War 1. Unlike Owen, Brooke thinks it is an honourable thing to die for your country. He feels that death in war is victorious and glorious. ...read more.

Middle

In the last stanza, he prefixes the title with "The old Lie". He uses "Dulce et Decorum est" as the title of the poem and as the concluding phrase because it makes us look at the title in a different perspective, and we think of it as a lie. When you look at the title before you read the poem, you think that Owen is pro-war, though when we read the poem we know that he is very anti-war. The saying, "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" rhymes with "The old Lie" and this makes the lie seem more deceiving. Owen also used a capital L in "old Lie" and this implies that the lie has been told for a long time and it is a massive lie. "The soldier" contrasts with "Dulce et Decorum est". In "The Soldier", the slain soldier is exposed as being divine and godly, he is "a richer dust concealed". On the contrary in "Dulce et Decorum est" the soldiers are presented as "beggars" and "hags" who are "knock-kneed". They are reduced to the level of rubbish and they are humiliated and degraded. They "flung" a soldier into the back of a wagon like he was nothing and nobody even though he gave his life for his country. Brooke does not hide the fact that you may die in war. ...read more.

Conclusion

He knows that if he describes the actual war, it would discourage and dissuade the British public to let their young men join the war. Brooke also displays the English society as being companionable where everyone is happy and this tranquillity should not be destroyed. "Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home". Brooke presents England as being clean and affable which is in contrast to "Dulce et decorum est" where everything is contaminated and in disorder. The physical effects of trench warfare are being emphasised in "Dulce et Decorum est". It has a devastating effect on the soldiers and it turns them into "old beggars". The war has aged them and they have been 'robbed' of their youth and their strength. They are no longer strong and fit, they are debilitated and incapacitated; "like old beggars under sacks...we cursed through sludge". We have an opposite image of war in "Dulce et decorum est" compared to the illustration we have in "The Soldier". Owen uses a simile when he compares the soldiers to old beggars and hags. "Bent double, like old beggars...coughing like hags". They are no longer dignified and they have lost their dignity by going to war. We no longer have the materialistic image of a soldier, in his smart uniform heading off to war. The soldiers have been emasculated and weakened as "hags" are thought of as old, vulnerable women. 1 ...read more.

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