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analysis and comparison of two war poems

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Introduction

Coursework - comparison of 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and 'Dulce et Decorum est' The focus of both 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and 'Dulce et Decorum est' is war, though the poets cover different aspects, for instance Tennyson concentrates on heroism and Owen bases 'Dulce et Decorum est' on his own horrific experiences, and that are written at different times, some of the same messages are portrayed. Such as the unnamed person which is apparent in both poems. In addition to that both poets try to expose the realism of war. Although it is achieved in different ways Owen is much more obvious with his approach in which he writes about his own personal experiences and tries to emphasise the awfulness of war whereas Tennyson intends more on informing people of the mistake made. I think this is mainly to do the times at which the poems were written during the Crimean war the majority of the population thought that is was great to die for your country however due to the massive amount of deaths in the First World War people were allot more cynical especially those who had fought in the war like Wilfred Owen. 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' is based on a newspaper article written by William Russell about an unsuccessful charge during the Battle of Balaclava, in the Crimean war on the twenty-fifth of October 1854. ...read more.

Middle

He uses colloquialisms like 'flung' because that id the way he would have spoken to fellow soldiers in the army. 'Flung' is also very insensitive. Owen uses this so that people reading understand the urgency of the situation and that even though he was their friend, and their fellow soldier they couldn't afford to be sensitive they just had to try and help him. This demonstrates loyalty because the soldiers had to look out for themselves in the gas attack but still helped the fallen soldier. Tennyson uses repetition to show that the lower rank soldiers involved in the charge had no choice but to follow orders without question 'Their's not to make reply, Their's not to reason why, Their's but to do and die' It was the soldier's duty to go into the battle whether they thought they should or should not and because they were loyal to the officers and their country they fought anyway. The most obvious aspect within 'Dulce et Decorum est' is horror. The poet is keen to show war for what it really is, this apparent form the very beginning with the line 'Bent double, like old beggars' Owen uses a simile to give the idea of the young men that became soldiers have been turned into old, weak beggars. Beggars are second class citizens that live on the streets, so they would be dirty and unwashed Owen used this simile to demonstrate what war had done to the soldiers. ...read more.

Conclusion

Tennyson is critical of the decision made by the commanding officers and this was influenced by William Russell's viewpoint because Tennyson had no knowledge of the battle of Balaclava other than the article Russell wrote in The Times newspaper. Owen is also critical of his 'unnamed person' who is specifically Jessie Pope but is also aimed at all the propaganda poets back in Britain. In the line 'my friend you would not tell with such high zest' Owen's acerbic tone is directly addressed at the poets who have never experienced war and yet encourage people to sign up to fight. The whole point of the poem 'Dulce et Decorum est' is to satire the idea that war is noble and this is shown in the final sentence in the poem 'The old lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori' that it is sweet and fitting to die for ones country. I feel this is the biggest difference between the two poems 'Charge of the Light Brigade' aimed to tell people about the mistake that the officers made and how brave, loyal and heroic the soldiers were and ultimately that it is sweet and fitting for one to die for ones country. I also think that 'Dulce et Decorum est' is the most effective poem because although Owen was bias towards the view of war being horrific and unjust, 'Dulce et Decorum est' is his own first hand account of something horrific that happened to him during the war. Whereas Tennyson never really experienced war or its effects. ...read more.

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