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

Contrasting two war poems, The Charge of the Light Brigade,(TM) by Alfred Lord Tennyson and Dulce et Decorum est,(TM) by Wilfred Owen.

Extracts from this document...


In this essay, I will be contrasting two war poems, 'The Charge of the Light Brigade,' by Alfred Lord Tennyson and 'Dulce et Decorum est,' by Wilfred Owen. I will compare the poets' attitudes towards their poems and observe whether each of the poems is a personal experience or a second hand report. I will look at the rhythm and imagery while examining the structure of the poem. Finally, I will access each poem's message to the reader and decide which one I prefer, as well as discussing the attitudes of war today. 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' is a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. It is a second hand report of the battle of Balaclava in the Crimean war in October 1854. Two thirds of the Light Brigade were tragically killed in the disastrous charge, when the British cavalry commander mistook his orders to retake some guns held by the Russians and sent his troops into certain death. The first stanza of Tennyson's poem sets the pace for the rest of the poem. Tennyson imitates the movement of the soldiers on horseback, by the use of 'dactylic feet,' which is a poetic rhythm. This gives the reader the heroic impression of gallant men charging towards battle without hesitation. It is also an upbeat rhythm which indicates Tennyson's 'pro-war' message and gives the reader the impression that the poem has an optimistic message despite its content. ...read more.


'Flash'd all their sabres bare.' Tennyson wants to give the image of swords reflecting the light from the canon's flash. With their sabres they manage to rupture the formation of the Russian army and break the front line. This describes how the British had some sort of success. 'Right thro' the line they broke.' We also learn that after their suicide attack on the Russians, their army was diminished. 'Then they rode back, but not, not the six hundred.' Once again this statement has repetition with the endings of the first, second and third stanza. The fifth stanza is somewhat similar to the third one, but the dissimilarity is that the British army are charging in the 3rd and retreating in the fifth stanza. The majority of the fifth stanza is repetition apart from the end where a quantity of the men narrowly escape 'the jaws of death.' The last stanza (sixth), is mainly glorifying the men for their heroism with a rhetorical question. 'When can their glory fade?' Tennyson lets the reader know of their unstructured charge and uses imperatives-he tells the reader what to think to allow people all around the world to be astonished by the soldiers' courageousness. Therefore the reader falls in awe of 'the Light Brigade.' 'Dulce et Decorum est,' is a poem by Wilfred Owen. Owen is desperate that we understand the indignity of the 'old lie' and in this poem he is describing his experience in the trenches of the First World War in 1916. ...read more.


Owen is still experiencing nightmares and wishes to show the effect of the gas. 'In all my dreams, before my helpless sight.' Owen separates these two lines from the rest of the poem which suggests that he feels guilty for the man's death, as he was an officer and it was his duty to care for his men. While Owen cannot avoid the vision of his dying soldier, Tennyson finds himself attempting to make the soldiers appear valiant while being shot at by canons. The fading soldier is thrown into a cart and Owen uses onomatopoeia with the word 'flung' which proposes that the abrupt treatment of the dying soldier is a habitual and tragic occurrence. Owen also slows the poem down in the last stanza with the line; 'If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood.' This uses the effect of bombs going off and blood being splattered everywhere, causing the soldiers to become shell-shocked and so they freeze, which is why Owen slows the poem down. Owen uses senses to present graphically the horror of his fellow soldier's hanging face. We see his face, which is contorted in agony. To demonstrate this, Owen uses a powerful simile, 'his hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin.' We hear his death clatter. He is describing these images because it is what he has nightmares about every night and so he wants the rest of Britain to understand what he is seeing as well. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous 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 GCSE Miscellaneous essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Of Mice and Men Essay

    4 star(s)

    A lawyer who is working really hard and putting all off his time into case, will tend to get extremely stressed out at times, however, when he reminds himself of the big paycheck he will get at the end of the case, his work doesn't seem so stressful to him any longer.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast the ways in which war is presented in 'The Charge Of ...

    4 star(s)

    His body will become part of that land which he never knew about or knew about the reasons of war, he can never be returned home to his family and in the sky above his body, southern hemisphere stars different from home will be there for eternity.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Short story on The Charge of the Light Brigade poem

    4 star(s)

    We were up on some scaffolding, on the second floor, when James and I saw an abandoned newspaper on the floor below. In big bold letters we caught the front page "WE ARE AT WAR!" And then it came to me: join the armed forces, fight for my pride, fight for my country.

  2. Life-cycle' And 'Enter without so much as knocking

    He is highlighting that society takes beautiful, unadulterated natural things and pollutes them with their rules and regulations. Moving from childhood to the middle ages in but a few lines, highlighting that it's not worth mentioning the rest of his childhood, as it was all had too much of a resemblance to what has already been said.

  1. GCSE Essay Cultural Poems

    I also think this means that black people have to eat here because the food is of poor quality and you spit on the floor, wipe your hands on your jeans and take your food with you. Jeans are clothes for working and are for the common man.

  2. How does Shakespeare present the contrasting characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Act ...

    Macbeth wants to talk the three witches, 'We would spend it in some words upon that business, If you would grand the time', this quote shows that clearly Macbeth talk about the three witches, also this quote indicates that he is testing Banquo as well to see if he wants to talk about the three witches.

  1. What do the poets Tennyson, Byron and Sassoon say about war in The Charge ...

    He describes death using alliteration and verbs: "Theirs but to do and die" "...Jaws of death", The alliteration helps add rhythm to the poem, whilst adding the picture of death to the reader. Lord Byron's poem 'The Destruction of Sennacherib' is about the Kings in the Bible.

  2. War Poems

    The style that Wilfred Owen uses here to describe the man is very effective, in my opinion. He is turning the gas into water, and it's as if the soldier is drowning in it, the gas filling his lungs, he's drowning in the green sea.

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