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What Attitudes to War are Evident in Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade and Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est and how are they Conveyed?

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Introduction

Lauren Clift 12 - 3 - 02 What Attitudes to War are Evident in Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade and Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est and how are they Conveyed? Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade and Owen's Dulce et Decorum Est. are both alike in that they deal with the subject of war. However, the two styles of writing differ significantly, as do the tone and purpose of the poem. Tennyson's poem was written about a fateful battle in the Crimean War, which took place between 1854 - 6. He was poet laureate at the time, and so his poems so his poems were to be read by the queen and the British Empire, also influenced the style and content of his poem. Tennyson never fought in the Charge of the Light Brigade, he wrote his poem in response to a newspaper article in 'The Times', written by W.H.Russell. This helps to explain why he depicts war as a heroic and noble act and seems to brush over the subject in his poem. ...read more.

Middle

Harsh reality is not Tennyson's focus in Charge of the Light Brigade. He seems to brush over the subject of death and injury, using euphemisms such as, "...horse and hero fell." In Tennyson's poem, death is portrayed as a noble and heroic act. It is his purpose to concentrate on the actual charge itself, thus glorifying war and its intentions. Lord Tennyson draws attention to the nobility of the soldiers, and their determination to carry out and order. This is shown when he says, "Theirs is not to make reply, Theirs is not to reason why, Theirs is but to do and die. " Here the parallelism is effective to emphasise their powerlessness to question an order. At times in the poem, the issue of death is addressed. In the first stanza the metaphor, "...all in the valley of death," is used which aptly introduces the sense of inevitability or the certainty of death that faces the brigade. There is also a contrast in the way the dangers involved in warfare are shown. ...read more.

Conclusion

He makes a direct appeal to Jessie Pope in the last stanza, that she should no longer write recruitment poems with such enthusiasm. He calls the young men "children" as if to show them as being na�ve and innocent. Owen closes his poem saying it is sweet and right to die for ones country. It is appropriate that he had chosen that phrase - in order for him to expose its deceit. There are a number of reasons why the two poets have written such very different poems on the same subject. Their attitudes also differ; this is largely due to the fact that they were writing for very different audiences. Personally, I prefer Wilfred Owen's poem to Tennyson's, as it shows just how horrible and evil war is, and how nobody should be tricked into going, or be forced to be there. The conditions described in Owen's poem are horrifying, but he is telling the truth, and it makes it a far better poem, in my opinion. Owen's poem is clever, he has used the words and different techniques very well in order to achieve a very graphic, horrifying experience for the reader, emulating how the soldiers were feeling in the trenches. ...read more.

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