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From the poems of Owen, Sassoon and Binyon compare and contrast their attitudes towards the First World War, showing how each poem achieves its effect.

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Introduction

From the poems of Owen, Sassoon and Binyon compare and contrast their attitudes towards the First World War, showing how each poem achieves its effect. Sassoon and Owen both hate the war, and they use their poems to reflect this. While Sassoon's hate is personal as it is mostly directed towards the Officers of World War I. Binyon, however, validates the death and destruction of the war with counter balancing praise, remembrance and thanksgiving. During WWI Sassoon trained men, many of whom probably didn't make it to the end of the war, as the survival rate for ordinary soldiers was very low, only a couple of weeks, but in contrast the survival rate of Officers was higher, probably because they didn't take the same risks as the soldiers. Sassoon couldn't stand that, and wrote these poems to bring to light the cowardice of the Officers. In doing so he got himself into trouble, as it would have been very damaging for the war effort if anyone were to read these poems. He did end up in hospital where he met Wilfred Owen. They became friends and Sassoon encouraged Owen to write his poetry against the war changing his idealistic and romantic style. Although Sassoon survived the war it must have been upsetting to hear of his friend, Owens's, death, and the fact that he survived the war while so many perished under his training must have seemed a bitter blow. Owen was a tender, sensitive poet before he met Sassoon, and he was an Officer. ...read more.

Middle

Owen's poem 'Dulce et Decorum Est' shows us a glimpse of a routine march. The soldiers are weary and it is most probable that they have been relieved from the front and are making their way back to a camp some miles away. " . . . haunting fares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge" Their weariness is soon forgotten as there is a gas attack. One man doesn't manage to fit his helmet on time, and Owen watches as that man slowly and painfully loses his life by breathing in the gas. This horrific experience is etched on to Owen's brain and he rebukes those that support the war and tell "The old Lie: Dulce et Decorum Est/ Pro patria mori.": it is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country. Owen uses it ironically. The first stanza introduces the reader to the extreme condition of the soldiers as they marched, and thus what life at war and in the trenches did to the men. Is this our brave lads at war?, as so many thought like. "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge" "Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;" The misery of the men indicates the intensity of Owen's feelings, "All went lame, all blind", these men were not actually lame and blind but these strength of words stress the condition of the men and the power of Owen's feelings. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is what's most important to Binyon, and why we must remember them. Binyon wrote this poem so that people would read it and remember so it has achieved that desired effect, but I think that it is not very poetic and only made me serve to dislike those who praised the war more. I much prefer Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est', I think that it is a powerful and moving poem, and it's true, and that it a scary thought. I think that Sassoon's and Owen's poems both have more substance than Binyon's. Binyon is too simple and clich�, too optimistic and too na�ve Binyon's attitude was one of praise and remembrance for those who died, while both Owen and Sassoon disagree with the war in general. They both see that war as a squander of lives. But it is different for them because they experienced terrible things while Binyon has never been at the front at this point at this early stage in the war. Sassoon and Owen feel that they cannot forget the things they have seen and refuse to not be heard. By writing their poems they have created a voice, and one which was widely agreed with near the end of the war. They feel bitter while Binyon feels quite prepared to accept the war and honour the dead along the way. I think that Owen and Sassoon realise their feelings and analyse their feelings inside their poems, going through their most horrific memories, and sharing them with us is special. However I don't think Binyon has felt the pain the war brought with it, he just rhymes off what it is supposed to be about, what he thinks it is about. ...read more.

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