• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How do 'Dulce et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen and 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Lord Alfred Tennyson present an image of war?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How do 'Dulce et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen and 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Lord Alfred Tennyson present an image of war? Although the two poems, 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', share a common theme of war, they interpret, communicate and portray the concept of war and the images evoked by war differently from each other. In most cases, in the poems, these differences directly contrast each other. The poem 'Dulce et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen was written as anti-war poem, focusing on the propaganda and the lies that the Government used in the days of the First World War, to lure eager, patriotic men of different ages into joining the army and fighting for their country's welfare and defence in the war. The poem compares these lies to the reality of the war, focusing on the horrors and the emotional as well as physical devastation caused by the experience of life in the trenches and, in particular, being on the receiving end of a gas attack. 'Dulce et Decorum Est' heavily criticises the propaganda and deeply emphasizes the bitterness and anger felt by surviving soldiers, their families, and the families of soldiers who were not fortunate enough to survive the horrendous ordeal, Wilfred Owen being one of them. The poem explores the meaning of its own title, 'Dulce et Decorum Est (Pro Patria Mori)', a Latin phrase from the famous Roman poet, Horace, meaning 'It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country', and tries to prove to readers that this is indeed an 'old lie'. 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', on the other hand, celebrates the glory of war and praises the efforts of the soldiers involved. The poem was written by Lord Alfred Tennyson, former poet laureate to the Queen. It focuses on a particular battle during the Crimean War, the Battle of Balaclava, a battle now of historical status historical status not just because of its outcome, ...read more.

Middle

begins shouting "Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!". The urgency of this situation is revealed through these short, one word sentences, which quicken the originally unhurried pace of the preceding stanza. And then the poem starts to be come as hectic as in the opening 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', although the soldiers in 'Dulce et Decorum Est' become frantic in their attempts to escape death, whereas the soldiers in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' are marching towards possible death. As the gas begins to diffuse into the trenches, Owen uses many metaphors and similes to try and capture the havoc in the trenches and the complete desperation of the soldiers fearing for their lives. A lot of water imagery is also used in this section of the poem as yet another major shock awaits the readers, as we are about to witness what Owen painfully witnesses himself: a soldier about to be sent to his death by the gas. Amidst all the chaotic activity in the trench, one soldier is "still yelling out and stumbling" and Owen can see him "floundering" as he peers through his "misty panes" and through the green gas; his colleague is "drowning" as though "under a green sea". The words "floundering", "misty" and "drowning" can all be connected negatively to images of water. "Floundering" suggests that the soldier is struggling, just as a fish flounders and "drowning" suggests a slow, uncontrollable kind of torture by water and is used to describe the gas entering the soldiers lungs and dissolving them. The idea of dissolution is also linked with water. Yet more shock and emotional torment is administered, both to Owen and the reader, through the next two isolated lines: "In all my dreams before my helpless sight He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning." For the first time we can think Owen's thoughts, feel Owen's emotions and helplessness and are emphatically involved in the situation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Owen almost asks the question "What is friendship, when something like this happens". Owen's understandably bitter feelings about the lies and propaganda are not only directed at the government, but also to those who, at the time, who wrote and spoke of war in the way which Tennyson does in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'. And the greatest and final shock of 'Dulce et Decorum Est' is when we learn that "The old lie", "Dulce et Decorum Est pro patria mori" is not being told to "old beggars" and "hags", but "to children ardent for some desperate glory". In other words, the soldiers whose lives are being wasted and sacrificed in the name of patriotism are not old men, but young men who would have been the future of our country but for the government taking advantage of their enthusiasm. The last few lines of Tennyson's 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' pay tribute to the brave efforts of the soldiers: "Honour the charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred" It is clear to see that, particularly from use of positive words such as "honour" and "noble" Tennyson looks upon the charge as noble and brave and is trying to convince the public that he is justified in having such a romantic and glorious outlook on war by saying what they want to hear. Tennyson does not so much present a false image of war as a different perspective. Both poets were in different positions during the wars about which they write: Owen was directly involved, whereas Tennyson was a member of the public and could only write about what he heard and not what he experienced. I feel that both Owen and Tennyson achieve have both achieved their intention; Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est' shocks and disturbs readers, making them think about certain important moral issues, and Tennyson's 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' depicts a romantic view of the role of a soldier in a war. These were the aims of the respective poems. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and Contrast the Two War Poems -'Dulce Et Decorum Est' and 'The Charge ...

    4 star(s)

    Tennyson's poem is neatly structured, indicating his view of the battle, whereas Owen structures his differently and signifies the disorganisation of death. 'Dulce' has no specific structure, with two isolated lines in the middle. This also reflects the horror of the dying man who 'plunges' at Owen.

  2. Compare the presentations of war in Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Tennyson ...

    The rhyme and the rhythm contrast. "Forward the Light Brigade! Was there a man dismayed?" Owen uses an irregular rhyme scheme, he uses half rhymes for example, 'silence and nonchalance', 'faces and fusses', 'snow and renew' to show that the soldiers are not thinking straight and hallucinating.

  1. Compare 'Charge of the Light Brigade' and 'Dulce et Decorum est' considering each poets ...

    Tennyson uses words such as 'volleyed', 'shattered' and 'thundered' when describing the sounds surrounding the soldiers. This writing technique allows the reader to be submerged into the action, creating an almost three-dimensional atmosphere within the reader's imagination. This therefore allows the reader to fully experience the horror of war, perhaps

  2. Compare and contrast how Wilfred Owen and Isobel Thrilling portray the horror, suffering and ...

    the child has lost her protection and is bitter about growing up. I am going to look at the similarities and differences in Owen and Thrilling. Both poets expose the negative side to war, for example Owen uses the consequences of a man becoming disabled because of war and Thrilling does so by showing a child's shattered dreams through war.

  1. In the wars, Robert Rose is a very significant character.

    In a symbolic sense Mrs. Ross is thinking of her son being a sheep in the flock of the army. HORSE page fifty-seven The horses here were used as an escape from the troubles that were going on deck with the soldiers trip over to Europe to fight in the war.

  2. Compare Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum est' and Lord Alfred Tennyson's 'The Charge of ...

    Wilfred Owen talks about his reoccurring nightmare in the two separate lines because he wants to tell the reader how horrific war is and he wants you to see this visually how he does, so he explains how he still sees the dead soldier in his dreams reaching for him

  1. Compare 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' by Wilfred Owen', 'Charge of the Light Brigade' by ...

    anxiety with atmospheric lexis throughout the poem, and to encourage and support his main challenge - to change typical attitudes of war in the era. Imagery such as 'bent double' and 'marched asleep' are visual descriptions and harsh lexis containing hard consonants like 'coughing', 'cursed', 'drunk' and 'deaf' combine to create an aggressive atmosphere in the first stanza.

  2. Explore the portrayal of war in Lord Byron's 'The Destruction of Sennacherib', Alfred Tennyson's ...

    This technique builds up pace however I think it has been over used. The last line of the poem starts with a simile 'hath melted like snow' this is referring to Sennacherib's army ' in the glance of the lord' shows his power and that no man should think he

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work