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"It is a great and glorious thing to die for your country." From your study of war poetry, how far would you agree with this statement?

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Introduction

"It is a great and glorious thing to die for your country." From your study of war poetry, how far would you agree with this statement? Refer to at least two poems. From the start of humanity, war has been a huge factor in civilisation and it is considered to be an honourable thing to give your life "for king and country." This view has been broadcasted to persuade men to go to war. Propaganda led these men to believe they would return from the war hailed as heroes. In reality, there is no glamour. You are just a number; a mere statistic, the individual is unimportant. The poems I have studied are Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et decorum est" and Alfred Lord Tenysson's "The Charge of the light brigade." "Dulce et Decorum et Decorum est" is split into four sections, the first stanza is written about soldiers numb and exhausted from marching endlessly through the mud and sludge. These young soldiers are "bent double" like old men emphasizing their exhaustion and the way in which they slump along, unable to stand upright, deformed by fatigue. The word "curse" is very effective in that it portrays the soldiers situation as something evil form which they cannot escape. ...read more.

Middle

He uses "you" in this stanza frequently putting you in his position, to hear at every jolt "the blood." If you could hear every noise that man made as he dies, explaining how you not only suffer your own pain but everyone else's. Owen describes the war "as obscene as cancer" he uses cancer because it is something everyone fears and it compares to war in the way it breaks down your body and its only a matter of time, although you don't know how long you will survive, death is inevitable. Owen addresses the reader angrily in the end of this stanza using a definite tone. Having described in graphic detail the sights of war. He tells us not to tell "the old lie" to innocent children na�ve to the truth "Dulce et decorum est" a quote meaning it is great and glorious thing to die for your country. This poem is extremely effective as an anti-war poem by using vivid comparisons and graphic images to have the reader feel disgusted at what war is capable of. Making war seem absolutely horrid and revolting, just as the author wanted it to. ...read more.

Conclusion

The speed of the poem is very fast this is indicative of the fast light brigade and emulates the gallop of the horses. As opposed to "dulce et decorum est" where the slow pace reflects the tiredness of the men in the poem. This speed is achieved by long words, long lines, the lack of rhyme and infrequent punctuation. In the charge of the light brigade the short words and lines speed up the poem conveying the excitement. In conclusion, it is not a great and glorious thing to die for your country, As stated by "Dulce et decorum est" which was written by a soldier who served on the front line whereas the charge of the light brigade was written by the poet from a second hand source and perhaps he was trying to make the needless death of "the 600" appear better than the actual truth and therefore may harbour some bias. Wilfred Owen tells us how a soldier's life was "a nightmare" turning fit young men into "hags" when you died you were not a hero. Your company who didn't even know your name could do nothing but walk on. In reality it is a terrible and unromantic thing to die for your country. ...read more.

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