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Dulce et Decorum est and Anthem for Doomed Youth compared.

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Introduction

Dulce et Decorum est - Anthem for Doomed Youth "Dulce et Decorum est" and "Anthem for Doomed Youth" are two poems written by Wilfred Owen during the First World War. Owen, like most soldiers, joined up after being convinced that war was fun by propagandistic posters, poems and stories, and once he had realised that the truth was quite the opposite of this, he decided that it was his responsibility to oppose and protest against poets like Jessie Pope through poetry itself. People were not prepared for the sheer scale and manner of death and the mechanised nature of trench warfare, and had false expectations of the heroic endeavour, but little awareness of the realities. However, compared to "Dulce", the anger portrayed is dramatically understated. "Dulce" is an outrageous protest, displaying the "haunting" and "bitter" effects of war, and after describing in great detail the horrific story of a soldier "drowning" and "choking" in gas, Owen reveals his passionate hatred for the false and misleading idealisms of heroism in war using particularly emphatic imagery in "cancer" and "froth corrupted lungs". ...read more.

Middle

In addition, the fact that the sound of machine gun fire is reflected in the phrase "rifles' rapid rattle" presents to the reader that the harsh realities of war are indeed more than just frightening. In addition, a sense of urgency and immediacy is portrayed in the second stanza of "Dulce", when Owen uses direct speech and exclamations in "Gas! Gas!", while the epizeuxis and use of the present continuous tense gives further emphasis to this desperate urgency .On the other hand, "Anthem" has a strong sense of sympathy and general tranquillity throughout the second stanza, which is juxtaposed by something quite the opposite in the first. As well as this, the light lexis used in words such as "glimmers" and "tenderness" in the second stanza, give the impression that it is a poem of mourning and respect rather than anger and hate. In general, "Dulce" uses fairly vulgar and crude language, conveying his disrespect for propagandistic poets, as well as his anger at the unawareness of the dangers of war of the British public: "He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning." ...read more.

Conclusion

This dramatic contrast between coarse and frightening imagery in "monstrous anger of the guns" and the solemn melancholy in "the holy glimmers of goodbyes" is a very moving one. This is not only because the phrase refers to tears in young men's eyes, which in itself is a saddening image, but also because it refers to "goodbyes", forcing a more personal image of saying "goodbye" to close friends or relatives as they go to war upon the mind of the reader, again, creating a sombre mood. In addition, the end-stopped line following "goodbyes" is very effective in that it makes the "goodbye" seem all the more sudden, harsh, and hurtful. In conclusion, "Dulce" and "Anthem", although they are both written in protest against the deceiving propaganda made by various people, they go about it in different ways. "Dulce" is an outright outrage at individuals, which we know from Owen's draft that it was targeted at Jessie Pope, using coarse and harsh language to do so. "Anthem" on the other hand is a more solemn and moving poem, although it starts as if it were to be an outrage, before we learn that in fact, it is only grieving for the dead and their lack of ceremony, and it becomes literally, an anthem for doomed youth. ...read more.

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