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Poetry: “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and “Dulce et Decorum Est”. Compare and contrast the poet’s attitudes to war. Comment on language and thought.

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Introduction

Poetry: "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and "Dulce et Decorum Est" Compare and contrast the poet's attitudes to war. Comment on language and thought. In films and on television, war is often portrayed, not as a good thing to do, but an honourable and glorious event to participate in. More often than not the 'good guys' are the winners and pain and suffering are forgotten or missed out completely. The two poems, "Dulce et Decorum Est" and "The Charge of the Light Brigade" couldn't be more different in the way they portray war. The only similarities the two poems have are they are both based on factual events, "Dulce et Decorum Est" was written during the First World War and "The Charge Of The Light Brigade" was written after the event in the Crimean war which occurred between 1854 and 1856. Alfred Lord Tennyson did not participate in the war, his account is from a second hand source and so therefore does not tell of all the facts and horror. Wilfred Owen fought in the war and so his account is more reliable, giving a more lifelike impression and situation. "The Charge of the Light Brigade", based on an event that happened during the Crimean War, was at a time when guns were in an early stage and the British Army still used soldiers on horseback that used sabres as weapons. From the first verse the poem seems to have a rhythmic beat, stressing the first words in a line then slowing down the pace of the verse before returning to a faster beat. ...read more.

Middle

"Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die." Tennyson also uses rhetorical questions to emphasise the bravery of the men, "Was there a man dismay'd?" and "When can their glory fade?" Finally, Lord Tennyson, calls for us to remember the six hundred, "Honour the charge they made, Honour the Light Brigade, Noble Six hundred!" "Dulce et Decorum Est" is a totally different poem from "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and it strives to get the message across by using shocking and sickening images of death to prove this. Whereas both poems are written about wars this one is from a time when weapons were far more sophisticated and more gruesome than possibly thought at the time. From the first lines of the poem the difference is immediately obvious. The first thing that strikes the reader is the lack of spirit in the people being described. "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks." This simile makes the soldiers seem weak and tired and doesn't give the impression of brave honourable fighting men, unlike in the Charge of the Light Brigade. 'Knock-kneed' and 'coughing like hags' are ways in which the soldiers are described, thus appearing to have no dignity. The writer of the poem, Wilfred Owen, relates himself to the suffering of the men when he uses the word 'we'. This gives an indication that, as an eyewitness, what is written will be true and the chance that he is lying is minimal due to the graphic content in the poem. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is no reality of the battlefield. Simple language and repetition is used to convey Lord Tennyson's view of war as a great joy to behold, and that the best way for a man to die is for his country. Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est" could not contradict this any more than it already does. He outlines the harsh reality of the situation to make people see the suffering of the front line troops and all they had to go through. Graphic scenes of death and disposal of the bodies are described to emphasise that 'It is a sweet and beautiful thing to die for your country' is in fact "The old Lie". Owen clearly makes his point that the needless death of the soldiers in terrible conditions is something that children should not be persuaded is a good thing. These poems portray different views on war and I prefer Dulce and Decorum Est. The poem seems more real and lifelike, rather then The Charge of the Light Brigade. The poem by Owen has not changed my view on war as I already had the same view as him, i.e. that war is pointless, but I also agree that it needs to happen to protect the country's pride and honour. I think war poetry should portray a lifelike view of what actually happens in war. They should not try to cover up and small details but should strive to tell the truth and give all detail; however gruesome. My view on both poems is that they are well written but I prefer "Dulce et Decorum Est". ?? ?? ?? ?? Yr. 10 Coursework Angela Wilkinson 10 set 2 Mrs. Brissenden ...read more.

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