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Pre - 1914 War Poetry.

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Introduction

Pre - 1914 War Poetry With detailed reference to any four poems, explore the way that different poets convey a range of attitudes towards war. Many poets have contrasting views on war and have shown them in the poems they have written. In this coursework, I will try to explore these views and convey the writers' attitude towards war and comment on the devices used. The four poems I have chosen to look at are `To Lucasta Going to the Wars', `The Volunteer', `The Hyaenas' and `The Wound Dresser'. To back up the poets' point of view, other poems portraying the same or a similar message will be used. Some of these poems have pro war attitudes and show it to be noble and honourable to fight and die for your country. Others have an anti-war message and give the impression that fighting is unnecessary and destructive. The remainder of the poems we have studied hold an ambiguous state of mind and shows that the soldiers are brave and honourable, but shouldn't have been fighting in the first place because war should be prevented. The first poem I am going to look at in detail is `To Lucasta, Going to the Wars' by Richard Lovelace (1618-1657). ...read more.

Middle

For this man, dying for his country is better than working and having a long life in a city. This must mean that he definitely wants honour and nobility and shows dying for his country to be a very gallant occurrence. Some of the lines in this poem rhyme to give it a sense of rhythm. This poem can also be linked to `Ode' because it too has a very positive view towards fighting. In both pieces it is seen as dignified to fight and die. The quotation `How sleep the brave, who sink to rest'. In contrast to the two positive poems `To Lucasta, Going to the Wars' and `The Volunteer', the next two pieces portray war as negative and unnecessary. `The Wound-Dresser' by Walt Whitman illustrates the pointlessness of the death and destruction which occurs at war from the point of view of a wound dresser who was once a soldier himself. The man is telling his stories and sharing his horrific memories with young faces that are willing to listen. The poem takes us into the narrator's mind like opening hospital doors and exploring all of the injured soldiers as memories in his mind. ...read more.

Conclusion

The final line uses alliteration in the words `and fight, and fall, in foreign lands' to stress that the soldiers will inevitably die at war. At the beginning of the second stanza, `I hate' is repeated again to stress the onlooker's dislike of what `The Drum' is doing. The three lines in the middle of the second verse use a list to re-iterate all of the destruction, showing how war affects more than just the people fighting and is not contained like a tournament which is the view taken in the poem `The Volunteer'. The final line of this poem says that these acts will just add to the `catalogue of human woes' which the poet feels is already large and will continue to grow. Throughout the whole poem the lines are in rhyming couplets like a drum beat. Similarities can be drawn between this poem and `A Christmas ghost story' which also shows belief in cheap glory for the price paid at war. Although there are only two main views on war, positive and negative, there are still many varieties within those categories. This coursework only illustrates 4, but there are still many more. ...read more.

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