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Examine different attitudes to war through comparing poetry by two poets of World War One.

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Introduction

Lisa Atkinson Personal Writing - Post-1914 War Poetry Examine different attitudes to war through comparing poetry by two poets of World War One. Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen are poets who fought for England in the First World War. Both poets depict the same topic of war, but through different views and opinions. Despite them pertaining to the similarly themed subject, their language and tone invoke contrasting feelings in readers and affects their impression of war in opposite ways. Examples of these differences can be seen in the two poems by Rupert Brook 'The Dead (iii) and 'The Soldier' and two by Wilfred Owen 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' and 'Dulce et Decorum Est'. Rupert Brooke writes 'The Dead (iii)' in an extremely relaxed and romantic mood. Brooke had not experienced war, so with this in mind the poem seems very clear and concise. Brooke aims to show us the glory that is brought about by dying for your country. He thinks that war is a simple and dignified cause. He aims to make us more patriotic and convince us to die for our country in war. The first line is very energetic and joyous for a horrendous subject such as war. This may mean that Brooke tries to symbolise enthusiasm and glory. Since bugles are used at a grand occasion, but also militarily charges and retreats he may be trying to indicate that dying for your country is a glorious way to end your life. "Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!" As he says, it has made them 'rich'. This probably means that they are wealthy with glory, praise and admiration. He makes no mention of the pain and suffering in war. The third line explains that dying has again made them important. But, dying has made us rarer gifts than gold. Gold is very rare, so by dying they have been them valuable and unique. ...read more.

Middle

The alliteration of the 'R's in rifles rapid rattle indicate the sounds of gunshots; again appealing to the reader's senses to highlight the bleak conditions in the battlefield which are terrible and ugly. Owen is obsessed with the cruelty, indignity and senseless wasting of their lives. The use of the word 'patter' refers to the bullets hitting a soldier's body. It gives the effect of raindrops hitting a window, which when used to describe how a body is inflicted with bullets paints a very cruel and inhumane picture. When he writes, 'No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells' He says that the dead are forgotten; they are neither mourned nor prayed for. This is because the dead are so many that it would take too much effort to bother to tend to them. The only things to mark their deaths are the 'choirs', yet there are not ordinary choirs but, 'The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells'. It is as if death has become the norm for them; it does not receive much attention or sympathy. The words 'shrill and wailing' seem to suggest that even in their deathbeds, there is no peace. The 'bugles calling for them from sad shires' seem to be calling in vain, because the soldiers are all dead. If anything, the soldier's deaths are undignified and not the least bit honourable. There is no hero worship and the dead are ignored. There is no pride, no honour and still the war continues. Owen writes about the effects of so many casualties of war and how it ironically destroys the homes the soldiers died to protect. The numerous deaths caused by war ravages even the younger generations left behind, shown by the 'candles', 'What candles may be held to speed them all? Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes. ' This refers to their tears and the 'pallor of girl's brows' which is the paleness of the girls. ...read more.

Conclusion

Owen writes as if he has just witnessed the worst, as he was involved with the uglier and bloodier part of the war. He also reveals the effects both on and off the battlefield. Both authors have distinctly different impressions of war because of their different experiences, but ultimately, both describe the subject, although from totally opposite sides. The two poets really contrast and oppose each other greatly. Brooke writes about war idealistically and with passion, Whereas Owen does the complete opposite. Owens's poem is however more reliable since he has experienced war. 'The Dead' was written before the war. The Soldier was written in 1914, a year before Brooke died, and Owen wrote Dulce et Decorum Est in 1917, three years after the First World War had started. In these dates we may find the reasons behind the conflicting ideology the two men gained. Brook wrote his poem at the beginning of the war, and so the ideas and perceptions of war and fighting for one's country as being noble and heroic were still fresh in his mind and the public's. Owen, on the other hand, wrote his poem three years into the war and in that time was able to see and accept the realities of war, so his perception of war was changed to bitterness and this was reflected in his many poems such as Anthem for Doomed Youth in which he reveals the same feelings on war as he does in Dulce et Decorum Est. In one of his previous poems, The Ballad of Peace and War, he himself had supported the idea of, 'How sweet it is to live in peace with others, but sweeter still far more meet to die in war with brothers. ' Therefore, it would be concluded that the only reason why the two poets have conflicting ideologies of war, is time. If Brooke had experienced more of the war he might have wrote later poems that portrayed the same bitterness as Owens. 1 ...read more.

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