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Compare and contrast Tennyson's 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' with Owen's 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' in order to explore the poets' attitudes to war

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Introduction

Compare and contrast Tennyson's 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' with Owen's 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' in order to explore the poets' attitudes to war Alfred, Lord Tennyson's 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' is written in relation to the catastrophic 'Battle of Balaclava' in the 'Crimean War' in 1854. It focuses mainly on the charge the 600 hundred brave and outnumbered English Cavalry made on the Russians. While 'Dulce Et Decorum Est', a whole diverse poem written by Wilfred Owen is more of an emotional poem compared to 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'. It focuses mainly on one situation during 'World War 1', a group of men are suffocating from the poisonous chlorine gas and traumatized by the death of their fellow soldier. Although both poets are writing about war, the two are different in every aspect and of dissimilar intention to us. 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' tell us what happened when someone misread a command. Thus, the whole brigade fought in vain; however, they acknowledged this misinterpretation yet still pursued to demonstrate patriotism. So it is a pro war and consists of noble warriors supported by glamour whilst 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' is an anti-war that convey the realism of a war. It is presented very hideously. The title itself is a mere contrast to the content of the whole poem. The poems give an insight of the great terror of war, which people do not usually fancy experiencing themselves. Therefore, the poem is an alternative way for one to experience and see the phenomenon of a war. 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' is structured very well. It is clear to us in the opening that the soldiers first forward their way towards the enemy "Half a league onwards", than the commander misinterprets an order "Some one had blundered" and so they progress to fight "Sabring the gunners there", but only some return alive "Then they rode back, but not, Not the six hundred". ...read more.

Middle

Both poets use metaphors to emphasize and overstress their intentions. Tennyson uses metaphors as well as a biblical references such as "Into the valley of Death," which recurs several times (to remind the reader of the dangers) and "Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell". A valley once very peaceful becomes a valley that is filled with death. The soldiers were aware that they would eventually meet their death once they entered the enemy's territory. Tennyson personifies "Death" and "Hell" to give a vivid portrait. Owen uses metaphors such as "Men marched asleep", "Drunk with fatigue," to express the soldier's pitiable condition. They had to sacrifice their sleep to be alert in the war, thus they desperately strived to get as much sleep as possible when they had the chance and that I assume was when they were marching. I believe the men marching asleep and without formation is a contrast to the marches that are done in a much-formatted way today. He regards fatigue as the effect caused when you are drunk by alcohol in this case. Another metaphor "deaf even to the hoots" accentuates the soldier's inability to hear presumably because of the loud gunshots and bombs. He states that even the largest possible noise was not audible to them. This creates a horrifying image of the soldiers at war, thus discourages glory of war. Owen uses a simile as well as a biblical reference "His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin" to convey a fellow soldier's miserable look since he was unfortunate in getting his mask on in time and hence he died. I believe, he writes that his face was so lynching that it represented the symptoms of an illness consisting of sins derived from the devil (who is the source of sin). He uses devil to express it given that we all identify him to be very dreadful and appalling, thus helps us to visualise the awful image of the soldier. ...read more.

Conclusion

The tempo progressively develops until the end. It is an angry oppressed tone throughout. It changes and slows down to a quite sympathetic but furious tone at the end "My friend, you would not tell..." After analysing the two poems, I prefer 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' to 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'. It is more realistic as it's filled with his own thoughts, feelings and reactions to reveal war. He offers a better graphic description of the effects. All of these are kept consistent throughout the poem. We are more inclined to believe his since he took part in the war. He succeeds in the message he's trying to get across to the readers by using harsh revolting words and phrases to describe the atrocious events. We are more engaged in his poem than in Tennysons. I personally admire the end bit; "The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est, Pro patria mori," which literally means 'it is sweet and right to die for your country'. It is shocking to know what the soldiers have to go through in war after reading Owens poem. People especially youths were misled and made to think that it was a glorious thing to die in war as a self sacrifice for the country. This was very appalling for men who experienced the dreadfulness of war. Therefore, Owen notifies the horror of participating in war and criticizes the statement. He regards war as a waste of valuable life. Throughout the poem he contrasts this old lie. The thing I liked about Tennyson's poem is that it commemorates the soldier's epic act. Wars now are often considered a terrible thing and people usually tend to forget the sacrifice the valiant soldiers do in order to promote good by erasing evil. However, he is too passionate and exaggerates exceedingly. He lacks detail and the fact that his poem was influenced by a newspaper. ?? ?? ?? ?? Roshan Rai 1 ...read more.

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