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

Trace the history of 'the old lie'.

Extracts from this document...


Trace the history of 'the old lie' 'The old lie' was the traditional view of war, which is honourable, glorious and heroic to fight and die for your country. During the time when Tennyson wrote his poem, 'The charge of the light brigade' (1854), everyone felt that dying for your country in action was honourable. But this view of war slowly changed as life went through World War I. When Rupert Brooke wrote his poems, at the outbreak of war, everyone was filled with euphoria and the eagerness to fight for their England. During the war, a poet called Wilfred Owen wrote about the harshness of war and how the traditional view of war was false. This totally changed the view of the people of England towards war. During the Victorian period, the British Empire grew and covered around a third of the world. This created much pride in being British. The people then thought that it was noble and honourable to fight and die for your country. Lord Tennyson was one of the poets to write representing the traditional view of war. He wrote a poem called 'The charge of the light brigade' which was written in memory of the brave soldiers that died in the Crimean War in the Battle of Balaclava (Ukraine) which took place during 1854-1856. In about 20 minutes two-thirds of the British cavalry were killed but as Tennyson was assigned the duty of being poet laureate he had to write his poems in a positive way to keep the queen and the country happy. Tennyson does a good job of this by using repetition to a large extent to emphasise the power of the 'Light Brigade'. The way that Tennyson wrote this poem was in the way that society thought of war during the time. The poem is emphasising the glory and pride in fighting for your Britain and being British. ...read more.


During World War I, Wilfred Owen was caught in a shell explosion which resulted him suffering from neurasthenia (shell shock), this was a quite serious mental condition. He was sent to Craig Lockhart War Hospital where he was kept for quite some time. This was when he started to write his war poems. He returned to the front line and on the 4th November just a week before the war ended and was caught in a machine gun fire and died. Owen's poems really changed society's view of war because in his poems instead of telling them how much glory and honour from fighting in war, he would tell them the fear and horror that they would get from it. "All a poet can do is warn. That is why the true poets must be truthful" (Owens introduction to the collection of poems) One of his many famous poems he wrote was called 'Dulce et Decorum Est'. Being a poet who is writing against the 'old lie' as Owen would put it, this poem entitled 'Dulce et Decorum Est' meaning 'it is sweet and fitting to die for your country'. It is kind of contradicting Owen himself. He uses the title in a sarcastic but bitter manner which shows his great dislike of the phrase. "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge" In the first two lines of the first stanza, Owen immediately uses plosives like 'bent' and 'beggars' to give the reader a very negative feeling. This is a contrast to one of Tennyson's 'The charge of the light brigade' "Forward, the Light Brigade!" As you can see, Tennyson's poem starts off with a positive and lively stanza. It gives the reader a sense of excitement from the beginning unlike 'Dulce et Decorum Est' by Owen. In Owen's poems he is trying to point out how war would dehumanise people and how terrible and harsh it is out in the battlefield. ...read more.


This gives a depressive tone and is at the end of the poem. Owen uses the "dusk" to bring an end to the poem. He uses onomatopoeia, to convey that death was swift, and most men did not live long, he emphasises this in "rifles rapid rattle". This poem has this dull steady pace that gives the image of a funeral which is achieved by long vowel sounding words like 'these', and 'monstrous'. It is also achieved by the repetition of 'only' which symbolises the ringing of funeral bells. "What candles may be held to speed them all" The first line of the sestet, the candles symbolising the light of someone's soul (metaphoric candles). In this poem Owen is trying to say is what kind of glory you get if you do not even get a proper funeral that people would remember you by... "No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells" Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs" On the battlefield they do not have any of those, but then they are replaced by the "demented choirs of wailing shells". This is personification which makes the poem more alive, the word "demented" makes the reader feel uncomfortable as it is quite a horrible word to use in this sense. From studying the three poets I have found that as the war progressed the views of war had changed dramatically from Tennyson's traditional view of war that it was honourable and glorifying to fight for your country. Then it was Brooke's view of war that it will bring peace and harmony to us if we fight in this war. Then finally Owen's view of war which was that war is as bad as hell. As we can see the change in the views which brought an end to the old traditional view of war as Owen had succeeded in telling the people back home that war is not what it seems, and that the traditional view of war was in fact a lie. Jeffrey Tse 10JF 09/05/2007 ...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. Comparing Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen with The Soldier by Rupert Brooke.

    He shows the dead man as an innocent sufferer who did nothing to start the war, but just fought in it because that was what he had to do. The statement could also signify that the men watching their dying comrade will have 'incurable sores' on their 'innocent tongues' for

  2. In The Soldier by Rupert Brooke we can see that it is very symbolic ...

    'The poignant misery of dawn begins to growl... We only know that war lasts, rain soaks and clouds sag stormy. Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army attacks once more on shivering ranks of gray, but nothing happens.' This stanza refers to the fact that the soldiers have become so distanced that they no longer have any

  1. Comparison of "Dulce et decorum est" by Wilfred Owen and "The Soldier" by Rupert ...

    the cud," to familiarise the situation to the reader and to focus on the repulsive truth of war. These similes simplify the theme of his poem without reducing its effect, and make the poem easier to understand. This reflects the views of the World War I society where there was

  2. Comparison between the poems "Dulce et Decorum est" by Wilfred Owen and "The Soldier" ...

    The word 'drunk' in line 7, stanza1, gives the reader a description they might be able to relate to - seeing as the poem was written during the war, Owen was probably trying to transmit an idea that people back home (in this case England)

  1. Trace the History of the "Old Lie" - The term the "Old Lie" was ...

    This poem shows the classic view of the time stating that war was a very honourable thing and also shows that troops were regarded as high members of society. The rhyme scheme of the poem is A, B, C, B, E, F; C.

  2. Trace the history of 'the old lie' with particular reference to the poetry of ...

    example is the repetition of cannon: "Cannon to right of them" "Cannon to left of them" "Cannon in front of them" The repetition of 'C' which is a hard letter sound describes the type of noise the cannon is making which has a good effect on the poem as it

  1. Trace the history of "The Old Lie" with particular reference to the poetry of ...

    After sacrificing their lives for their country they did not even get their own proper funeral to show that people were thankful for what they have done to help their country and its people. This once again brings up the whole concept of "The Old Lie".

  2. The North Sea

    In recent years, Statoil and Hydro have begun to look at other regions in the world to expand exploration and production activities. The two companies are not alone in relinquishing some their assets on the NCS, notably BP, traditionally a large player in the Norwegian oil sector, sold its 61%

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